Younger team looks to continue legacy

Sophia Kim, Asst. Sports Editor

Diamond Bar High School’s girls golf team hopes to repeat as league champs this year, but with a much younger team. This is the first time in years that the team has consisted mainly of underclassmen, but the team remains focused on continuing  as one of the top teams in the league.

“We’re having the girls play more tournaments so they can get [used to] the competition,” head coach Tony McCabe said.

Although the girls started off their preseason with two losses against La Serna, they are back on their game as they have won their first three league games so far.

This season, the varsity team consists of freshmen Esther Lee and Angelica Kusnowo, sophomore Kailie Vongsaga, junior Crystal Wang, and senior Jane Park.

In order to improve the girls’ skills, McCabe implemented a new practice style called match play in which each player competes with another player hole per hole and wins the game by counting the number of holes won.

For the past 13 years, DBHS’ golf team has been mostly using stroke play during practice rounds, a technique that counts overall strokes, but McCabe believes that match play will help the girls improve their game.

“We’re trying to get tougher for matches,” McCabe said. “In the big matches last year, there were couple of kids that had not played in enough competitive situations and so we’re going to fix that right from the start.”

McCabe has been using match play as a determining factor for selecting the girls on the varsity team and for choosing players for specific matches. During practices, the girls were matched up with their teammates who had similar scores in order to improve their competitiveness. After these simulated games, they would face a player with a better average score.

During the summer, most of the girls attended the golf summer camp held by McCabe to prepare them for the year. Twice a week, the girls were out in the sun playing nine holes for approximately two hours. The girls are continuing their practice at Diamond Bar Golf Course playing nine holes four days a week.

This year, the Lady Brahmas are preparing to compete against the top teams in the league such as Glendora and Ayala. They hope to qualify for State finals, as they must be among the Top 3 in Southern California. McCabe is not worried about the potential for this year’s team, for each player in varsity has a significant background.

Wang has been on varsity for three years, won a national AJGA tournament, is on the state champion team, and is a nationally ranked player along with Vongsaga, who is already committed to UCLA to play on its golf team. Along with those captains, Park is back, who joined the team last year from Walnut High School. Two new freshmen, Lee and Kusnowo, who averages  37 for nine holes, will be great addition to the team, according to McCabe.

With a goal of qualifying for the state finals, the Lady Brahmas need to be able to compete against the top teams in CIF, including  La Serna, Walnut and San Marino.

“We might have enough this year to do it, but we’re very young and we need match toughness,” he said.