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GIRLS' GOLF / SOUTHERN SECTION INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Top Players Missing, but Drama Isn't in Pak's Playoff Victory

November 24, 1998|MICHAEL ITAGAKI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Although some of the top players weren't present at the Southern Section Individual girls' golf championships Monday at Mission Lakes Country Club in Desert Hot Springs, there was still plenty of excitement.

After shooting a two-under-par 70 on the 5,390-yard layout, Cerritos Gahr sophomore Young Pak won the title in a sudden-death playoff, making a birdie on the third extra hole to edge Mission Hills Alemany's Krystal Shearer and Long Beach Millikan's Vivan Phosomran, the '97 champion.

Last season, Redlands East Valley's Gina Umeck won the title in another sudden-death playoff, beating Woodbridge's Yon Yim, the '96 champion who is now at USC, and Fountain Valley's Candie Kung.

But Kung, who won the Southern California Golf Assn. individual title as a junior last season, and Umeck, were among the noticeable absentees from Monday's tournament.

That's because the American Junior Golf Assn.'s final event of the year, the Polo Golf Junior Classic, is being held at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., this week.

So it seemed appropriate in this rocky inaugural girls' golf season, which crowned University as the section's first team champion last week, that Orange County's lowest-scoring player was Mission Viejo's Carla Legaspi . . . who hadn't picked up a club in three months.

Legaspi shot 72, but only began preparing 10 days ago because she did not play with the Diablo girls' team. She will play with the boys' team this spring.

"I took three months off," said Legaspi. "I was expecting to shoot in the 80s, so I'm really happy with how I played."

Legaspi, Pak, Shearer and Phosomran, along with the other top 50 finishers in Monday's tournament, qualified for the season-ending SCGA Finals in June.

Monday's playoff could have ended early, but Pak missed birdie putts on the first two playoff holes. Phosomran also sank a clutch five-foot par putt on the first playoff hole to stay alive.

On the third playoff hole, Pak hit her six-iron approach shot to within 18 inches of the cup on the 347-yard par-four hole, then made the short putt for the victory.

"I wasn't nervous in the playoff, just excited," Pak said. "I just wanted to hurry up and finish it."

Woodbridge junior Channing Lovejoy shot 77 to finish tied for 10th. University freshman Angela Won and Villa Park sophomore Shelly Raworth shot 78s and Marina's Courtney Goebel shot 80.

Notes

Other Orange County SCGA qualifiers were Rosary's Romina Bollini (81), Foothill's Priscilla Park (82), Capistrano Valley's Karlie Ward (82), Rosary's Maggie Barnett (83), Cypress' Lisa Choi (83), University's Sunny Lee (84), Edison's Lauren Brown (86), Newport Harbor's Kelly Hunt (87) and Valencia's Nikki Glowin (87). . . . Santa Margarita's Megan Mulhaupt and Laguna Hills' Kacey Igarashi each missed qualifying for the SCGA by two strokes, finishing at 89 . . . Fountain Valley's Candie Kung, the defending SCGA champion, will not be eligible to defend her title in June, Baron Coach Don Terrenove said. The only way to qualify for the SCGA finals is through the section individual finals.

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