November 16, 2021
Granite Bay made it two in a row for NorCal, while University High of Irvine’s Leigh Chien took the title in the individual competition at Tuesday’s CIF State Championship at Poppy Hills.
Granite Bay, who finished with a winning total of 15-over 371 (best 5-out-of-6), became just the second NorCal team to win the State crown, joining 2019 winner Palo Alto. In a State Finals rarity, all three NorCal teams–Granite Bay, runner-up Palo Alto (287) and third-place finisher Valley Christian of San Jose (288)–finished higher than the three SoCal teams. The low SoCal squad was Troy of Fullerton at 295.
For Granite Bay, it was finally a turn at the top. Each of the last three years, they’d finished fourth at State.
“They’re better kids than they are golfers,” said Granite Bay head coach Jason Sitterud. “Golf’s an individual sport but they made it a team sport. It was an impressive season and they were impressive again today.”
Granite Bay, which features just two seniors, got a full team effort, with Anika Varma, Ellie Bushnell, Hannah Harrison and Tavia Burgess all posting rounds of 72. Lauren Pierce contributed an 83 and Taylor Peterson had a 91. Palo Alto was paced by Lauren Sung (72) and Sydney Sung (73).
On the Individual front, Chien, a sophomore, got a win to remember. She’d capture the title after making birdie on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff (the par-5 10th) to defeat runner-up and good friend Ashley Yun of Walnut. Both players finished regulation tied at 3-under 68.
“It feels great to have won it,” said Chien, who stuck her approach shot on No.10 to within 9 feet of the flagstick before draining the winning putt.
Fueling Chien was a fantastic run on the front-nine where she reeled off four straight birdies from holes Nos. 3 through 6. Having started on No.10, she opened play by going 1-under through her first nine.
“I started my day off slow, but then picked myself up,” Chien said. “Then I got on a roll.”