Each year, the California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body of high school athletics, offers state championships during the school year. In all, the CIF puts on seven state championship events — a combination of team and individual sports.
The first of those championships is on Tuesday. It’s the CIF State Girls Golf Championships, taking place at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County. It’s a 54-player field, a combination of three teams from Northern California, three teams from Southern California, plus individual qualifiers from around the state.
“Getting to the state level in any sport is an amazing accomplishment,” said Ray Graziani, Justin-Siena High School’s golf coach.
Kathleen Scavo, a sophomore who was the Player of the Year in the Marin County Athletic League, and Isabella Bosetti, a senior and a four-time first-team All-MCAL player, advanced as individual qualifiers for Justin-Siena from the Northern California Golf Association/CIF NorCal Regional Championships at Brookside Country Club in Stockton last week to state.
Scavo tied for medalist honors, shooting a 5-under-par 67, and Bosetti tied for ninth with an even-par 72. As a team, Justin-Siena tied for third place with Mission San Jose-Fremont, each team shooting a 404 total. But the Braves, the MCAL champion and the runner-up at the North Coast Section Tournament of Champions, did not advance.
Mission San Jose won a tiebreaker over Justin-Siena and will go to state, joining Foothill-Peasanton, the team champion which shot a 395 total, and St. Francis-Sacramento, which was second with a 402.
Scavo tied for first with Nancy Xu of St. Francis-Mountain View. The two players went into a sudden death playoff to determine the overall individual title, and Xu won by making birdie on the first playoff hole.
Bosetti and Grace Park of Cupertino advanced as state qualifiers from a sudden-death two-hole playoff for the final spots. Bosetti had pars on both playoff holes. Three teams plus the top nine individuals not on qualifying teams from each regional championship move on to state.
“I know that there’s just absolutely going to be a full field of excellent golfers,” said Graziani, who is a PGA teaching professional. “Both of them are going to compete hard, both of them are going to play well, I’m sure. These are both such competitive golfers.
“This is a win, this is a reward to be able to play at this level. They both are going to walk away with an experience that they’ll never forget.”
Accomplished junior golfers
Scavo and Bosetti are both accomplished junior golfers. They play year-round and have experience playing in Junior Golf Association of Northern California, Junior Tour of Northern California, and American Junior Golf Association tournaments.
“Isabella’s overall game is great. I’ve loved playing with her throughout the whole year because she has really pushed me,” said Scavo.
Scavo had a big summer, winning the California Junior Girls’ State Championship on the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, advancing from stroke play qualifying and getting to the second round of match play at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, and winning an AJGA event at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
Bosetti tied for ninth in the AJGA’s Aspen (Colo.) Junior Golf Classic and placed 13th in the AJGA Junior at Southwind presented by True Temper at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn.
“Isabella came on as a freshman and set the bar at a different level for Justin-Siena girls golf. She brought us to an area that was recognized throughout the state. She should be very proud of that,” said Graziani.
“Both players have such an even emotional reaction to the game of golf. They know they’ve prepared hard, they’re willing to maintain an even level of composure and just play solid continually.”
Red Hill will be set up as a par-74, 5,998-yard course, with six par-5s measuring in length from 415 yards to 499 yards. The 18-hole championship event will be managed by the Women’s Southern California Golf Association.
Eighteen groups of three will play from the first tee beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Bosetti starts at 8:33 a.m., followed by Scavo at 9:09 a.m.
Team and individual awards will be presented following the completion of the event.
Torrey Pines-San Diego won the Southern California regional team title at The Golf Club at Rancho California in Murrieta last week and joins Diamond Bar and Palm Desert at state.
“I know it’s going to be a really tough field, but I don’t feel apprehensive. I’m just very excited to be going,” said Bosetti, who plays out of Silverado Resort and Spa, Justin-Siena’s home courses. “It’s a really good finale to the four years. I don’t think I could have done it without my team, just because they carried me a very long way. We went really far together.
“I would like it if we all went the last step together, but I know that I’m here because of my team.”
Bosetti feels very good about the way she is playing — in particular the way she is driving the ball and putting. She was able to adjust to Brookside’s fast greens last week, making 30 putts during her round.
“Over the long term, I think I’m finally settling in and doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” said Bosetti, who works with Rich Marik, her coach at Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland. Marik is the director of instruction.
Said Graziani, “I just know how hard Isbaella has worked in everything she does — golf and academics. To play as well as she did at the NorCals, to get here is just outstanding.”
Super year for Justin-Siena
It’s been a super year for Justin-Siena girls golf.
“It’s great to represent Justin-Siena and the girls golf team,” said Scavo, a Benicia resident. “I just want to play to the best of my ability. I don’t like to go in there and really set goals. I don’t like to put too much emphasis on winning, just play my best.
“I like to think of it as just another day of golf, just another game, and not worry too much about it.”
Scavo will be making her second straight appearance at state. She shot 74 and placed fifth last year at Poppy Hills Golf Course at Pebble Beach.
Justin-Siena also won the CIF North Coast Section Division II title at the Chuck Corica Golf Course in Alameda last year.
Scavo tied for second place in the Northern California Championship, shooting 72 at the Stanford University Golf Course, and was second with a round of 71 at the North Coast Section Division I Championship at Los Positas Golf Course in Livermore last year.
“She’s already commanding a presence on the golf course, at any level,” said Graziani.