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Choi Leads All-Star Golfers : High schools: Laguna Hills senior, the first girl in the event, has day's best score, a two-over 73.


NEWPORT BEACH — At first, Eunice Choi didn't want to play high school golf with the boys one last time.

Choi, a senior at Laguna Hills High, worried that she could be the reason the South lost the Southern California PGA Orange County All-Star Match.

"I didn't want to let down anyone," said Choi, who was the first girl to play in the all-star match. "I really didn't have any confidence. If we lost I didn't want anyone to blame me."

No chance of that.

Choi's two-over-par 73 at Newport Beach Country Club was the low round of the day and she helped her team to a 19-5 victory over the North.

The South has won each of the five all-star events, which feature the county's top 16 seniors.

Each foursome played two individual matches, plus a third match based on combined scores of each two-person team. Two points were awarded for a victory and one for a tie in each match, for a total of six team points per foursome.

Choi and partner Rick Redding of Irvine earned all six points after their matches against Joel Del Giorgio of Brea-Olinda and Cody Neptune of Valencia. They were the only twosome to shut out their opponents.

But it wasn't easy. Despite her score, Choi didn't win her match with Del Giorgio until the final hole. Del Giorgio, who finished with a 76, was 1-up after 16 holes, but he found a sand trap on the 185-yard 17th and took a double bogey. Choi evened the match with her third birdie.

Choi won the match with a par to Del Giorgio's double bogey on the 18th.

Redding closed out Neptune on the 16th hole, making his only birdie of the round--on a 40-foot putt that he started from the upper tier of the green.

Afterward Choi, who will attend UCLA in the fall, was a bit sheepish about her performance. She's no stranger to strong showings against the boys--her 76 at the Southern Section individual championship could have qualified her for the CIF-SCGA boys' tournament, if there hadn't been a separate tournament for the girls--but she didn't want to rub it in.

However, her partner took the initiative.

"You always have to look out for Eunice Choi," Redding said. "She's always a threat. She's not afraid to play with the boys. If she won't say it, I want to make it look good in the paper for her."

Zachary Allen and Justin Grandy of Trabuco Hills defeated their opponents, 5-1. Allen, who will attend either UC Irvine or Pepperdine, had the second best stroke score of the day (74), and beat Brian Rea of Marina, 7 and 6. Grandy shot 76 and finished in a tie with Marina's Paul Ohshima, who also shot 76.

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