Sierra ready to defend women's golf title

Sierra ready to defend women's golf title

MORRO BAY, Calif. – The Morro Bay Golf Course will be the site of the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association women's golf state championship.  The two-day, 36-hole event will begin on Sunday with 8:00 a.m. tee times and continue on Monday with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start, followed by the awards ceremony in the clubhouse at 1:00 p.m.

This tournament will showcase the top community college women golfers in the state, including the top four teams from last year's state tournament as well as four of the top seven finishers on the same course in 2016.

Sophomore Nao Bando of Sierra College (Rocklin, CA) tied for medalist honors a year ago with a 3-under-par score of 141 (72-69) but settled for the runner-up medal in a card-off.  She is one of the favorites to top the leaderboard again this year as she tries to help her Wolverine team repeat as state champions.  Aman Sangha of Canada College (Redwood City, CA) finished fourth overall last year at 4-over-par 148 (74-74) as she led the Colts to a third place team finish a year ago.  Vanessa Watkins of Santa Barbara City College finished seventh individually last year with a 153 score (76-77) in helping the Vaqueros to a runner-up finish in the team standings.

Sierra College has a solid chance of capturing the state title again this season after winning the Northern California regional championship last week by 20 strokes over regional runner-up Modesto (667).  Canada finished 24 strokes back with Butte College qualifying for the state championship with a team score of 705. 

It appears that Sierra College will be challenged again by Santa Barbara City College, which captured the Southern California regional championship at Temecula Creek last week with a narrow, one stroke win over Cuyamaca College (El Cajon, CA), 661-662.  Cuyamaca finished third at the state championship a year ago and the Coyotes are led by Leanna Mena (pictured) who played the entire post-season a year ago wearing a walking boot.   College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, CA) finished third at the Southern California regional (696) and Moorpark College qualified for the state championship with a team score of 706.

Individually, Bando appears to be the player to beat but – in addition to Sangha and Watkins – sophomore Hannah Lovering (Reedley College) has some successful experience on this course after finishing fifth at the state championship a year ago (150).  Danie Kinder of West Hills College (Lemoore, CA) and Janita Vongphoumy of Modesto Junior College finished among the top four players at the Northern regional last week and could challenge for an individual title.  Vongphoumy placed 12th at last year's state championship at 157 (78-79). 

An individual challenge could also come from a handful of players from the south, including a trio of players out of the Orange Empire Conference.  Kaylee Jeon (Fullerton College) won the Southern regional last week with a score of 152 (75-77).  Conference MVP Brittney Do of Saddleback College (Mission Viejo, CA) and conference runner-up Kylie Sok of Irvine Valley College were just four strokes behind Jeon, as well as Georgia Shevitt of Moorpark College.

Weather for the state championship in Morro Bay calls for partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-60's and light winds.