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Riley cards 81 at state

East Union’s 1st female qualifier has rare off day

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POSTED November 21, 2013 1:54 a.m.

The 54 competitors in the CIF State Girls Golf Championships were treated to surprisingly-good weather at Carmel’s Quail Lodge Golf Course on Wednesday.

That would be the only big break for Brooke Riley, East Union’s first-ever female qualifier for this tournament.

Missed birdie opportunities and two rare blowup holes kept the sophomore from keeping up with California’s best, as she finished with a 10-over-par 81 for 33rd place.

“It definitely puts more pressure on you than any other tournament,” Riley said. “There are college coaches everywhere and you’re playing against girls from all over California; you don’t know who is going to shoot what. It’s a different kind of pressure than I am used to.”

Low-medalist Andrea Lee of Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) was the only player to finish in the red, carding an impressive 4-under 67. Five players finished tied for second with 71s, including three from four-time state champion Torrey Pines, which outpointed second-place Diamond Bar, 364-396.

Riley played alongside two of the top finishers. NorCal runner-up Elizabeth Schultz of Acalanes (Lafayette) was part of the five-way tie for second and earned a top-six medal. Sophomore Haley Moore from San Pasqual (Escondido) placed seventh with a 72. Schultz is heading to San Jose State, while Moore has committed to Arizona.

Riley said she has gotten to know Schultz having played three rounds with her in the past month, starting with a junior golf tournament in Napa and then a practice round at Quail Lodge on Tuesday.

“I was super excited to play with her again because we tied at Napa last month,” Riley said. “She is a really good player. Her putting is great. She’ll have a 10-foot par putt and you already know she’s going to make it.”

The greens weren’t as kind to Riley. She didn’t score a single birdie, though the opportunities were there.

“I can’t tell you how many times I lipped out — it was so irritating,” she said. “It was one of those days everyone has, it just happened on the wrong day.”

Riley started on the back nine and was 2-over at the turn. Her only missteps were bogeys on the par-five 15th and par-four 18th.

It snowballed from there.

“Things started falling apart on the front nine,” she said. “My swing didn’t feel good, and I went OB (out of bounds) on the third hole.”

It was the first of two triple-bogeys over the final seven holes. She still had a chance to end up in the top 25 as she teed off her final drive on the course’s longest hole — the par-five, 527-yard ninth.

“I don’t even know what happened,” Riley said. “I went from bunker to bunker and had a meltdown.”

A learning experience was all it was for the area’s most accomplished golfer. Compared to most who played in the state tournament, she is still relatively inexperienced — and that much more hungry.

“It’s just going to make me work harder for it,” she said. “I have two more years to get back and try to prove myself there.”

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