Delen-Briones wins third straight

Senior changes ball at turn, prevails by four shots to help Lowell capture championship

It must have been the ball.

That was the only thing Lowell’s Katrina Delen-Briones could think of when asked to explain the discrepancy between what was a nightmare front nine and spectacular finish at Lincoln Park Golf Course Monday in the San Francisco Section girls’ golf championships.

The senior four-putted twice and shot an 11-over 45 on the front side before switching balls at the turn, then proceeded to fire an even-par 36 on the back nine to finish with a title-winning 81. She now has captured three consecutive individual championships and led Lowell to its fifth straight section crown as the Cardinals downed Galileo 545-565. The individual and team championships were held simultaneously, with four handpicked players from the Academic Athletic Association joining the two teams.

“I went from Titleist 1 to Titleist 3 — the ball had to be unlucky,” Delen-Briones said with a laugh. “And I just told myself ‘Everything is fine, let’s just start from zero.’”

The Cardinals advance to the Nov. 6 NorCal tournament, to be played at Yellow Fliers Country Club in Woodland. Joining the Lowell team will be Washington freshman Andrea Fung, who shot an 85 and finished second to qualify as one of the top three individuals.

Lowell rode a trio of seniors to its undefeated run through the Academic Athletic Association, with Ananda Rochita (87) and Devalin Jackson (110) joining Delen-Briones to anchor the Cardinals’ lineup all year. Together, they helped Lowell coach Lee Silverstein earn his seventh girls’ title (to go with 15 boys’ championships).

“They’re all great kids and those three all have the potential to play college golf somewhere,” Silverstein said. “And Katrina has the ability to have golf take her as far as she wants to go.”

Dianna Lau led Galileo with a 104, while Alex Choy and Alissa Diewwanich each carded a 113.

It must have been alittle bit difficult for the Lions to see Delen-Briones tee it up for the Cardinals. The medalist attended Galileo as a freshman before there was a team at the school, transferred to Lowell as a sophomore and has had control of AAA golf ever since. She is now looking at college programs throughout the West Coast and Hawaii.

Particularly impressive to her Lowell teammates is her deft touch around the greens.

“Her short game is incredible,” Rochita said. “She’ll just make these shots and I’ll think ‘OK, miracle worker.’”

Rochita won the AAA title as a freshman and has finished in third place in her final three years at the school, giving the Cardinals a 1-2 punch that few could contend with. Rochita is planning on playing Division I golf as well and is currently considering several schools in Connecticut.

“[Ananda] has a great all-around game,” Delen-Briones said. “She [has the talent to] beat me anytime she wants.”

SAN FRANCISCO SECTION CHAMPIONSHIPS

Winner advances to NorCals

Lowell 545, Galileo 565

Lowell: Katrina Delen-Briones 81, Ananda Rochita 87, Devalin Jackson 110, Samantha Serafica 133, Ashley Ong 134.

Galileo: Dianna Lau 104, Alex Choy 113, Alissa Diewwanich 113, Christina Trinh 115, Kim Ricci 120.

INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Top three advance to NorCals

Katrina Delen-Briones, Lowell 81

Andrea Fung, Lincoln 85

Ananda Rochita, Lowell 87

Jimin Lee, Lincoln 100

Dianna Lau, Galileo 104

Other individuals

Barrie Diggs, Lincoln 110

Katrina Wong, Washington 112

melliser@examiner.com

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