Shortly after she shot a two-under par 73 in the second round of the Pacific League individual final, Jocelyn Chia wasn’t sure it would be enough to win her first league championship.
All the Crescenta Valley High sophomore girls’ golfer could do was wait for the scores to be totaled. Thanks to a strong effort on the back nine, Chia enjoyed arguably her finest moment while playing for Crescenta Valley.
Chia finished two strokes ahead of Arcadia’s Katherine Guo, forcing a tie for the title, but won the crown in a card-off by virtue of a lower score on the back nine at Jurupa Hills Country Club in Riverside on Thursday afternoon.
Chia, the reigning All-Area Girls’ Golfer of the Year, and Guo each finished their two-round event with a 259, but Chia won the card-off by virtue of shooting two less strokes on the back nine Thursday. Chia became the first Falcons’ golfer to win a league title since Katie Park in 2007.
“I didn’t even know about a card-off or what the card off-was going to be,” said Chia, who overcame a two-stroke deficit gauged by season scoring against Guo and earned the right to advance to the CIF Southern Section Individual Regionals on Oct. 31 at River Ridge Golf Club in Oxnard. “Katherine and I gave it a real good run.
“I felt like I’ve accomplished something and I have had a lot of fun doing it. Now, I just want to keep it going.”
Crescenta Valley second-year Coach Lee Pope, whose team next participates in the CIF Central Team Divisional at Jurupa Hills at 8 a.m. Thursday, said Chia elevated her all-around game after she took third in league last season.
“Katherine was ahead of her the whole year,” Pope said. “Jocelyn slowly grinded it out to get back into the hunt.
“She’s got such an unbelievable temperament. She’s never too high or low. She’s just steady and keeps going at all costs. I’m so excited that she won.”
Chia, who helped Crescenta Valley finish second in league Tuesday, is one of eight representatives from the Pacific League to move on to the individual regional. Joining Chia will be Guo, Melissa Leo of La Cañada, Ravipa Losakul and Joany Gao of Burroughs, Tiffany Gu of San Marino and Arcadia’s Gwen Vahey and Michelle Cheung.
Leo fired a 77 for a two-round score of 272, followed by Losakul (75, 276), Gao (74, 266), Gu (74, 279), Vahey (80, 285) and Cheung (77, 285).
Chia, who recorded an even-par 75 in the first round at Brookside Golf Course No. 1 in Pasadena on Tuesday, said her short game proved to be the difference.
“I came in knowing I had to keep it going,” said Chia, who advanced to the Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament and the WSCGA Foundation Tournament last season. “I made some putts and my ball striking was better.
“You have to be able to hit the ball straight because it’s a narrow course.”
Pope said he watched most of Chia’s round and wasn’t aware of where she stood in her hunt for league supremacy.
“I was looking at her body language and I couldn’t tell,” Pope said. “She’s got the same demeanor, whether she gets a birdie or a bogey. She’s got a poker face.
“The one thing I’ve said since the beginning of the year is that I can always count on her shooting around par. If she keeps it up, she can be in the same breath as past great players at CV.
“She’s just been such a boost for our program. Girls are going to want to come here and try to get on the team.”
Crescenta Valley received an 83 from Audrey Chung, who finished with a two-round score of 288, an 86 from Deborah Chin for 314 and a 90 from Amy Park for 317.