Palo Alto and Menlo-Atherton became two of the first four teams to officially qualify for the Central Coast Section girls golf championships on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch in Monterey County.
Palo Alto won the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League tournament at Santa Teresa Golf Club with a team score of 392 as Bridget O'Keefe, Lauren Sung, Sydney Sung and Alexa Pineda all finished among the top 11.
Menlo-Atherton won a special nine-hole playoff with San Mateo 232-248 on Tuesday at Poplar Creek Golf Course to grab the second automatic spot, with Hillsdale, from the Peninsula Athletic League.
Palo Alto will be joined by Lynbrook, which finished with a team score of 399 and was the team leader by seven strokes on the front nine.
Los Altos, Gunn and Mountain View, which finished third, fourth and fifth respectively, are in line for at-large bids. Those, as well as individual golfers not on a qualifying team, will be determined Thursday, Oct. 28 following the completion of other league tournaments.
The West Bay Athletic League and West Catholic Athletic League both have tournaments scheduled for Monday, Oct. 25.
"I'm happy with the way they played," Paly coach Doyle Knight said. "They told me they had to grind through a lot of holes. They just stuck with it."
O'Keefe shot an even-par 71 to place third. Los Altos' Sophie Thai and Cupertino's Olivia Duan each shot a 70, with medalist honors to Thai on a tiebreaker.
"My group shot well today," Los Altos coach Abe Roof said. "The Thai sisters (Camille was part of a three-way tie for seventh with a 75) took turns as medalists all season."
Los Altos scored 415, followed by Gunn at 444 and Mountain View at 463.
"Everybody struggled a little bit but they played hard and stuck with it," Gunn coach Chris Redfield said. "It was tough on the front nine."
Alanna Lee led the Titans with a round of 86.
O'Keefe was in the same foursome with Sophie Thai. As a group, they enjoyed the best round of the day. Mountain View's Kaitlyn Hahn shot an 80 and Lynbrook's Riley Yang came in with a 74.
"Sophie and I played together my freshman year too," O'Keefe said.
This was Palo Alto's first postseason tournament since winning the state title in 2019.
"It feels great to come back after a couple of years and play as a team again," O'Keefe said. "When we're together, we always play well and it's always fun."
Sydney Sung, who won the CCS individual title in 2019, said the team always had high expectations
"We lost two seniors from last year but I thought we'd still be in good shape," she said. "I still think we all could have done a little better."
Said Lauren Sung: "As you go back over your round you feel like you could have found a stroke here or there."
O'Keefe and the Sung's are seniors and all are headed for Division I schools. But there's no straying from what they believe is making up for lost time.
"We look forward to keeping our winning streak going," O'Keefe said. "I have faith we will prevail."
Allyson Lee, who also scored for the Vikings, did not let a back start spoil the day. She came back with a big back nine.
"She settled sown and made fewer mistakes," Knight said. "Knowing that she improved, she can build on that. The Nos. 5 and 6 golfers (Meigan Lew also competed) don't understand that they just need to play steady. They don't have to try for a low score."
"We all appreciate all the hard work Allyson and Meigan put in," Sydney Sung said. "They've played great at times this year."
Lauren Sung, who tied for ninth at the 2019 CCS tournament, shot a 74, Sydney Sung shot a 74 and Pineda came in with a 79.
Camille Thai shot a 75 for Los Altos. Madison Woo contributed a 75.
Gunn's top five were all within nine strokes of each other. Athina Chen was a stroke behind Lee and a stroke ahead of both Catherine Chu and Nayma Kasturi.
Catrina Yang was Mountain View's second best golfer at 88.
Menlo-Atherton 232, San Mateo 248
Katie Spivakovsky shot a 37 and Nathalie Benrey fired a 41 to help the Bears qualify for the CCS tournament.
M-A and San Mateo played to a 250-250 tie in the final week of the regular season.
"Our girls played their best total round of the season when it mattered most and I am very proud of them," said M-A coach Jeff Benrey, who added the team celebrated with a visit to a famous burger chain.
Since the team qualified directly into the CCS, M-A decided to skip the PAL individual tournament, which is scheduled for Thursday.
"Given our team composition of mostly seniors and juniors and their academic load between classes and college applications, we collectively made the decision," Benrey said. "We're looking forward to playing at the CCS regional tournament."
Other golfers for M-A were Angelina Heller (47), Carter St. Claire (53) and Charlotte Dunn (54).