By Jerry Hannula/CCCSIA women's golf statistician/SID
MORRO BAY, CA - College of the Canyons posted a team score of 309 to lead the field in the race for the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) women's golf state championship after Sunday's opening round of the two-day, 36-hole event. The championship concludes on Monday at the Morro Bay golf course.
It was little surprise that the Cougars would be in position to vie for their third state title after easily claiming the Western State Conference title and last week's CCCAA South Regional championship. The surprise may be in how close the competition is for second and third place.
Six of the eight teams competing in this year's state championship have previous state titles to their credit. Only Reedley and Fresno City colleges have not earned a women's golf title. But the battle isn't over yet as College of the Desert (325), Saddleback (331), Modesto (332), Reedley (333), Sierra (334) and Santa Barbara (339) are still within range of Canyons but likely battling for the second step on the awards podium.
Canyons was paced by an even-par 72 from freshman Haroka Koda while teammates Jessie Lin (75) and Joanna Roecker (77) were also among the top 10 golfers in the field. Desert has a six stroke lead over the other teams that are chasing Canyons. The Roadrunners were paced by Zoe Walker (76) and Dagmar Urbankova (79).
The top individual returning from last year's state championship is Saddleback sophomore Brittney Do who carded a 79 on the first day, helping the Gauchos to a narrow third-place advantage. Defending state champion Modesto is currently in fourth place despite not posting any scores in the 70's. Natalie Cowan and Chloe Cardenas each posted 81's for the Pirates.
The individual competition saw a couple of red scores posted on Sunday. The Orange Empire Conference Player of the Year, Eunsoo Jeon of Fullerton College, posted a three-under-par 69 to lead the field. She had three birdies during her bogey-free round. Arianna Custodio of Sacramento City College came in with a one-under-par 71 as she accounted for six birdies but five bogies.
The final round of play begins at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12 with both a team champion and an individual champion being crowned at the awards ceremony at 1:30 p.m.