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Torrance Sees Way Clear to Title

November 17, 2005|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Torrance had won some girls' golf titles by close margins and others in routs. The Tartars have won on tough courses and on some not-so-difficult ones. And they have won with their No. 1 player and without her.

And after winning the state championship Wednesday at the PGA of Southern California Golf Club in Beaumont, the Tartars have something new to add to their resume: They won in the dark.

Torrance shot a five-player score of 405 and finished 24 shots ahead of Long Beach Wilson on a day when blustery winds, slick greens and lots of lost balls caused rounds to last nearly six hours and forced the final few threesomes to finish in darkness.

Officials shuttled the final groups on golf carts to speed up the pace, but even so, it was so dark by the time the final threesome reached the 18th hole that tournament organizers parked several cars near the green and illuminated it with headlights so players could see.

The darkness didn't seem to bother Torrance freshman Jane Rah, however.

Playing in the next-to-last group, Rah, even without the aid of headlights, made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to finish at one-under-par 71 and won the individual title.

Torrance senior Angela Park, playing in the final group, was second with 73. Brianna Do of Wilson was third at 75, and Lizette Salas of Azusa was fourth at 76.

Park, the team's No. 1 player, who missed the Southern Section playoffs while playing a tournament in Florida, made seven par-saving putts of five feet or more on the back nine, including a 15-footer on No. 18 that was illuminated by the headlights.

"I've never played in the dark like that, but it was actually pretty fun," Park said. "To me this was not all about winning, it was about having fun."

Rah had five birdies and four bogeys. She hit only 10 fairways and nine greens, but needed only 26 putts to finish the round. She said the individual title was secondary to the team title.

"I thought about our seniors on every putt," Rah said. "I wanted to send them out with a victory, and that means a lot more than winning the individual title."

Torrance seniors had experienced three years of close calls before this year and, despite having talented squads, hadn't advanced past the section championships until they won that title last week.

In 2005, they left little doubt. Torrance won the section title by 14 shots, the Southern California regional by 10 and the state by 24. The Tartars became the first girls' team to win all three titles in the same season.

"It's extremely satisfying to see the team grow," Coach John Wurzer said. "This is an experience that these girls are going to remember for the rest of their lives."

Park, a senior who will forgo college and turn professional next summer, said leaving high school on a high note was important.

"I wanted the team to have something to remember," Park said.

"There's nothing I would trade for my four years with this team."

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