Freshman Donina Zhou of defending champion Rancho Santa Margarita High claimed the individual title and led the Eagles to the team championship in the 2023 California Interscholastic/Southern California Golf Association Championships at Los Serranos Golf Club in Chino Hills.
Zhou posted a score of three-under-par 69 and beat Kaila Elsayegh of Marlborough School in Los Angeles with a par on the first hole of a playoff.
“Donina is so confident, it’s really exciting,” Coach Jill Hegna of Santa Margarita High said. “We were confident last year, but I think the freshmen who came in, they were so tournament ready and that really helps. Having the tournament experience is important, then it kind of rubs off on everybody.
“They walk tall with their heads high and I’m really proud of them. I’m trying to keep them grounded and make sure that they appreciate every win, but we’ve still got things to do. We’ve got unfinished business.”
Zhou made eagles on the 13th and 14th holes, both par-fives, and added a birdie at No. 16 in her 69, while Elsayech made five birdies in her bogey-free round.
However, Elsayech missed the green and hit into a bunker on the playoff hole and could not get up-and-down for a par that would have continued the playoff.
“I think my mental game was really good today,” said Zhou, who earned exemptions into the 2024 California Women’s Amateur and the SCGA Women’s Amateur Championships.. “There weren’t really any technical or mechanical things that were really good. I think I just stayed mentally strong even when my putts weren’t dropping, and I put myself in a good position all day.
“It means a lot, not just individually, but also as a team. I really love this team and all the girls. It’s so cool and I’m really excited to play. I’m really grateful that the CIF and SCGA are giving me this opportunity to compete in those events.”
Asterisk Talley of Chowchilla High shot 71 to tie for third with Leigh Chen of Santa Margarita High, Sehee Sim of Torrey Pines High, Yurang Lee of Sunny Hills High in Fullerton and Kacey Li of Temple City High.
Kandice Chuang of The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks totaled 72 to tie for eighth with Lauren Lee of Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Juliet Oh of Diamond Bar High, Anna Song of Palisades High in Pacific Palisades and Lauren Shin of Los Alamitos.
Rancho Santa Margarita claimed the title by whopping 12 strokes with a score of six-under-par 364, while Walnut High was second at 376, Torrey Pines High at 380, Peninsula High of Burlingame at 389 and Northwood High of Irvine at 392.
Rancho Bernardo High of San Diego was sixth at 417, followed by Buchanan High of Clovis at 418, West Clovis High at 436, Palisades Charter High of Los Angeles at 465 and Granada Hills Charter High at 558.
For complete results, visit: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3955602