By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Walking to the clubhouse following last Thursday’s round at the City Golf Championships, Palisades High senior Melanie Matayoshi didn’t know if she had shot a low enough score to qualify for the Southern California Regionals.
Two hours later she had to smile upon finding out her card of 96 at Balboa Golf Course in Encino secured the 12th and last spot and ensured her prep career would continue at least one more week.
“My goal was to shoot somewhere in the 80s,” said the Dolphins’ senior captain, whose best official 18-hole score at Balboa is 95 at the Western League finals. “When I hit a bad shot I just told myself to hit the next one better. Today, I was most confident with my 9 iron, 7 wood and driver. This whole season’s gone by so fast. I wanted to make the new girls on the team comfortable and get everyone an even amount of practice time.”
Matayoshi parred holes 3, 9, 11 and 13 to earn her second regional berth. She qualified her sophomore year but didn’t make it last year, despite leading the Dolphins to fourth in the City team standings —their highest ever. This time Palisades shot 510 to finish in fifth place.
“What I’ve worked on most this year is my aim and my consistency,” said Matayoshi, who started playing golf at age 4 but not competitively until ninth grade. “My coaches told me I needed to shorten my backswing and I was determined to change it because it was costing me shots.”
Joining Matayoshi for today’s regionals at Brookside Golf Club will be junior Lillia Weissmuller, who was the seventh individual qualifier (13th overall) after firing an 18-over 90. She was the team’s only regional qualifier last fall.
“My goal today was to beat last year’s score (96) and make regionals again, so I’m very happy,” said Weissmuller, who lives right above Pali High and worked at a surf camp at Zuma Beach over the summer. “I shot 85 here in a practice round last weekend but 90 is my best in tournament play. Of all the courses we play I like Balboa best because this is the longest and most challenging.”
Weissmuller parred the seventh, eighth, ninth and 18th holes.
Freshman Jammy Cho carded the team’s first-ever 89 at League Finals but shot a 101 on Thursday.
Mariana Paleno (110), Sarah Medernach (113) and Selene Lam (115) rounded out the lineup, but only the five lowest scores count.
“Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug,” Coach James Paleno said. “I‘m proud of [junior] Spencer Kellen, who let Sarah play in her spot because she’s a senior… nice to see.”