Conder notched a 75, just three over par for the 18-hole course and 10 strokes lower than her nearest competitor, to take the individual championship for the third year in a row. Her threepeat was capped off with birdies on the last two holes of the course, which happens to be the same course where Conder first hit a golf ball. Her previous league championships were at the Tilden Park and Deer Ridge courses. Freedom’s Isabel Cabreira came in second with 85.
It was also no surprise that Deer Valley, which has not lost a league match in the last three years (48 wins in a row), took the league title, scoring 458. Freedom was second with 503, Heritage close behind with 505, followed by Antioch (527), Liberty (545) and Pittsburg (634).
The top Wolverines were Haley Edwards and Victoria Leon, who tied for third with 88, and Melissa Wilkerson, who came in fourth with 89. Further back were Allison Isaacson (94), Taylor Coover (99) and Tara Nelson (108). The top five scores are added to comprise the team score.
Deer Valley Coach Andria Edwards was, of course, happy with the title victory but less than ecstatic with the team score, which she had been hoping would be closer to 420, given that the team has been averaging around 210 for 9-hole matches this season. But, of course, they had the precipitation handicap to weather through.
“The conditions were not as good as we hoped,” said Edward. “We had a lot of water and had to lay up in certain spots. All of the scores were elevated. But they did a nice job with all of the different conditions. Wilkerson did a nice job with a fourth-place finish – that was a good finale tournament for her. We are going on to North Coast (Section tournament), and hopefully the weather will be a little bit better and we can cut some more strokes off of everybody’s game.”
What makes the 45-stroke victory even more impressive is that four of the Deer Valley players were playing the Creekside and Hillside courses for only the second time, and two of them for the first time. With its 48-league-match winning streak, the Wolverines have become the De La Salle of East County golf. Edwards cites a variety of factors for the remarkable success, starting with an emphasis on chipping and putting.
“The girls are really dedicated working on their short game,” said Edwards. “Even the five other players who weren’t in the tournament work hard at practice and know that to cut strokes you have to work on your short game and do a lot of chipping and putting. We play one hole at a time. Whatever happens on the past hole we try to put behind us and try to get the best score on that hole.”
Golf, perhaps more than most sports, is a mental game, given its slow pace and individual nature. “We focus a lot on thinking positively,” said Edwards. “Just focusing on where they are at that particular time and the emphasis on the positive and not the negative. When they come in from a round, I will ask them what happened positively.
“It’s just like life – to be a better person you have to work hard at it and forget your errors and focus on the positive and work on what we need work on. A lot of these girls will be moving on to business and hopefully the philosophy will be with whatever they pursue in life.”
But before getting on with the business of life, the girls will be driving seven hours to the northern California coastal city of Arcata for the NCS Tournament on Monday, Nov. 2. The emphasis there will be on sticking to the straight and narrow.
“Arcata is a really tough course, a very narrow course with trees on the side,” said Edward. “The girls will have to keep it down the middle and the fairways to get themselves a good shot at some good scores. There are some great golfers going there. (But) we can take third. If the top teams haven’t prepared themselves enough, we can sneak into first or second.”