Wolfpack show depth in big non-league girls’ golf win over Palm Desert

In non-league action against Palm Desert, Great Oak freshman Skylar Earle hits a tee shot on Temecula Creek Inn’s Oaks Course. Valley News/Time Stood Still Photography

TEMECULA — Depth…it’s something most high school golf coaches do not have a lot of in their programs. One coach who does have a lot of depth is Great Oak coach Rachel Reif.

On Wednesday, September 6 that depth was put to the test as senior co-captains Brooke Carpenter and Gwenyth Dempsey (both CIF-SS qualifiers last year) sat out a non-league match against a historically strong Palm Desert program that has won 24 straight league championships. It was a test the Wolfpack (2-3) passed for their second win of the year, 223-240, over a Palm Desert (2-1,1-0) team that showed up just 30 minutes prior to tee off due to an accident on their route.

“My intent with our schedule out of league was to play matches against programs that have been historically better than ours so that nothing in league or CIF playoffs is a shock,” Reif said “I believe that if you play against better players you’ll get better and I think that’s something you see with the depth of this team.”

Great Oak junior Jessica Li earned medalist honors with an even par round of 36, using precise ball striking to record two birdies (on both par fives) and two bogeys in her round. Joining her in the opening group was long hitting freshman Skyler Earle who shot a solid round of 41 with five bogeys.

“Jessica doesn’t overpower a golf course but what she does well is score from that 100 to 120-yard range and display consistency in all areas of her game,” Reif said. “Skyler has come in and shined so far, providing a nice challenge to our upperclassman veterans in the same way Jessica did two years ago. That challenge is what makes it fun.”

Although Palm Desert’s second group of Hannah Woods and Liya Kakar won their group 94-99, with four scores of five that count posted, the Wolfpack held a lead of 176-190. Kimiko Carpenter came in with a 47 to preserve the win for Great Oak.

“We’re used to playing desert courses and I wanted to give us a different challenge compared to what we see at home,” Aztecs coach Kaitlyn Ellis said. “We left a lot of shots out there today, but I’m not worried about the loss. This is the most talent we’ve had since I’ve been here, and I think we have the potential to do some good things come the CIF-SS playoffs.”

Great Oak Scores:

Jessica Li – 36, Skyler Earle – 41, Drew Brown – 50, Madison Murakami – 49, Kimiko Carpenter – 47, Marissa Alvarez – 61

Team Total: 223 (+43)

Palm Desert Scores:

Emily Tucker – 49, Bella Fuentez – 47, Hannah Woods – 49, Kiya Kakar – 45, Amelia Kandari – 53, Mia Miagolis – 50

Team Total: 240 (+60)

(Italicized name does not count in team score)

Derryl Trujillo can be reached at socaltrekkie@gmail.com.

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo has been a local sportswriter since 2018 and is the 2019 IEBCA Supporter of the Year award winner. He can be reached via email at socaltrekkie@gmail.com.