It’s fair to say that the players and coaches for the Palm Desert High School girls golf team looked at Thursday’s second-place finish in the CIF-Southern Section Eastern Division title at Jurupa Hills Country Club as a loss, rather than as the team being one of three teams from the tournament that advance to the next round of post-season play.
The Aztecs fell one shot short of winning what is considered a CIF-SS title, scoring 393 to Troy of Fullerton’s 392. But even up until the end, there might have been a chance for the Aztecs to win.
After the scores had been posted, there was suddenly a question about the score of one of the Troy players. Apparently,the dispute was whether the players had signed for a 6 on a hole but actually taken a 7 on the hole. If that was the case, the player, who had shot 82 for the day, would have been disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. That would mean her 82 would have been erased and replaced with the next best score fro Tory, and 84. And that would have flipped the results of the event to a Palm Desert win by one shot.
But after talking to the players in the group, tournament officials decided that the score for the Troy player would stand. There was some grumbling from those around the Palm Desert team, but the officials made the decision and it was final and the Aztecs walked away with a second-place plaque and the knowledge that they will be another shot next week in the WSCGA qualifying tournament in San Clemente.
Head coach Jack Stewart admitted that his team might have gotten ahead of itself Thursday. The focus of the Palm Desert season has been getting back to the CIF state tournament for a fourth consecutive years. That sounds like a good and lofty goal, but there is also the possibility that the team nearly tripped up at the regional while thinking it would naturally advance.
Jiyoon Jang, a sophomore for the Aztecs, admitted that the team does feel some pressuring in its quest to return to the state tournament.
“We all had a lot of pressure on us because we wanted to win just because last year we didn’t win any of the (post-season) rounds,” Jang said. “We didn’t play that well at state. Especially for the seniors, because this is their last year. And basically this is the sophomores’ last year to actually have a chance to advance and go to state. So it was important, but you can’t do anything about it now.”
The good news for the Aztecs is they do get to move forward to the WSCGA qualifying event next week, the next step in getting back to the state event. Thursday’s result in may be the spark the team needs to push it forward.