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Ventura County : TODAY'S FOCUS / HIGH SCHOOL GOLF

Newbury Park Fashions 12-3 Mark

October 22, 1998|PETER YOON

High school coaches can always count on the unexpected, especially in a first-year sport such as girls' golf.

Even so, Greg Ropes, Newbury Park's veteran golf coach, thought he had seen it all until a prematch meeting turned into a fashion discussion.

"We spent more time deciding style of hair and color of shorts than we did really getting ready," Ropes said. "One girl had a single pony tail with her hair curly and that upset the balance because everyone else had a pony tail with straight hair."

Fashion issues aside, the Panthers (12-3) are playing well. Freshman Julie McKenna has been nearly unbeatable and sophomore Cindy Lee has helped on a part-time basis because of a heavy academic load that, for the Korean immigrant, includes English.

McKenna leads the team with a 41.1 stroke average in 13 matches and has been medalist 11 times. She finished ahead of Beth Allen of Nordhoff and Jennifer Marshall of La Reina, players who were medalists in all of their teams' previous matches.

"Julie has been outstanding," Ropes said. "And everyone on the team just loves her. She gets teased like any freshman, but it's obvious that they respect her. She's very personable and outgoing."

McKenna has taken the role as team leader, often offering swing tips and playing advice.

"The other girls really look up to her," Ropes said.

When Lee plays, Newbury Park is one of the top teams in the region. She has scores of 42 and 39 at par-35 Los Robles Golf Course and the Panthers shot 137 and 135 in those matches.

"It's a shame she can't play all the time," Ropes said. "I have high hopes that we can get her out there for the league tournament."

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