Wolfpack control Southwestern League golf race with solid round on Stonehouse nine

Vista Murrieta’s Wren Saithong hits a tee shot during a Southwestern League dual match against Great Oak at Temecula Creek Inn’s Stonehouse nine on Thursday, Sept. 14. Valley News/Andrez Imaging

TEMECULA- There’s an old saying in golf which goes, “The hardest thing to do is follow a low round with another low round.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Bear Creek Golf Club, the Great Oak girls’ golf team shot their season low of 198 (+18) in a Southwestern League dual match against Murrieta Valley. Defending team co-champion Vista Murrieta followed that up with a season low 218 (+31) in a non-league matchup against Paloma Valley at Canyon Lake Golf Club on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

A day after shooting -6 (31) at Canyon Lake Country Club in a non-league dual match against Paloma Valley, Breanna Noble of Vista Murrieta hits an iron shot against Great Oak in a Southwestern League dual match competition on Temecula Creek Inn’s Stonehouse nine Thursday, Sept. 14. Valley News/Andrez Imaging

It was a windy afternoon on Temecula Creek Inn’s Stonehouse nine Thursday, Sept. 14 but that didn’t deter the stars of Southwestern League girls’ golf from shining in an early season matchup, one which Great Oak won 202-243 to move to 4-4 overall and 2-0 in league play. With the loss Vista Murrieta is 5-4 overall and 1-1 in league play.

Five of the twelve players who teed it up broke 45 in Thursday’s nine-hole match, led by Jessica Li’s (GO) 33 (-3) which included birdies on both par fives and the short par four fourth hole. Li’s strength is her iron game which was on full display Thursday as she made all three birdies from less than ten feet including a tap-in at the first hole.

“I feel like my game is pretty solid right now. I’m hitting a lot of greens and making putts,” Li said. “I took last year off because I was starting to feel burnt out, but I came back because I feel refreshed and I’m excited to be out here again.”

Joining the Wolfpack junior were three freshmen and a senior from both teams who also broke that mark.

Great Oak freshman Skylar Earle holed a bunker shot at the par five first hole on the bounce for birdie and made four bogeys en route to a 39 that could’ve been a few shots lower except for an uncooperative putter. Senior Brooke Carpenter also aided the Wolfpack cause with a five over par round of 41, highlighted by a birdie on the ninth hole which helped her, and sister Kimi, win their group by 11 shots.

Vista Murrieta’s freshman duo of Wren Saithong and Breanna Noble shot matching 38’s for the defending champions, playing without back-to-back individual champion and CIF-State finalist Lauren Sammon.

Noble’s round capped off an impressive two days for the left hander who also shot 31 (-6) at Canyon Lake Golf Club in a non-league match against Paloma Valley 24 hours earlier. In Thursday’s round Noble made just one lone birdie at the par five ninth hole, using a deft touch from 40 yards to set up a tap-in birdie which offset three bogeys.

“We haven’t played Stonehouse in roughly three and a half weeks (since tryouts) so I consider this an exceptional performance,” Wolfpack coach Rachel Reif said. “We are also 100 percent aware that Vista Murrieta is a different team with Lauren Sammon in the lineup and that they put up a different number with her but we’re doing the things we have to do to put good numbers on the board ourselves.”

Great Oak:

Jessica Li – 33, Skylar Earle – 39, Brooke Carpenter – 41, Kimi Carpenter – 49, Gwenyth Dempsey – 43, Madison Murakami – 46

Team Total: 202 (+22)

Vista Murrieta:

Wren Saithong and Breanna Noble – 38 (+2), Kathryn Freely 50 (+14), Alyzah Manalang – 51 (+15), Cynthia Molina – 66 (+30), Katelyn Cabrera – 72 (+36)

Team Total: 243 (+63)

(Bolded score does not count in team total.)

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