By RICHARD J. MARCUS
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
HEALDSBURG — Coming soon to Sonoma County League girls golf: “The Showdown, Part 3.”
After Thursday’s 258-277 victory by the visiting Tigers (10-1) over the Greyhounds (10-1) at Tayman Park, the SCL is all knotted up at the top of the standings. Both teams play Piner next week, but the Prospectors do not have a full squad, which will automatically give Analy and Healdsburg wins.
The first meeting at Analy was won by Healdsburg, 289-293. With the teams even in head-to-head play, the final meeting will be the most important. The SCL Tournament is Oct. 15 at Oakmont East.
“The fairest test between us will be at a neutral course,” Analy coach Diane Lloyd said. “Playing at Oakmont will be an interesting test of fitness since it will be 18 holes (instead of the normal nine), which is a big difference.”
The Greyhounds came into Thursday’s match sporting an unblemished record. The possibility of an undefeated season was within reach.
“You get to 10-0 and you start dreaming (of an undefeated season),” Healdsburg coach Jane Wann said. “But the real goal for us is to get our girls ready to do the best they can each match.”
Analy was led by senior Khiana Schmuhl, the best player in the SCL, according to both coaches. Even so, Schmuhl, who led all golfers with a 43 (par 35), said she was not happy with her performance.
“This was the worst round of the year for me,” Schmuhl said. “It just wasn’t a good day. My swing was off and I was making stupid decisions.”
To make matters worse, there was a bizarre incident on the fourth hole as a golfing party not in competition mistakenly picked up and took Schmuhl’s ball. As Schmuhl came to the green, her ball was nowhere to be found. No penalty stroke was assessed but Schmuhl said the incident affected her performance.
“It affected me mentally. When things like that happen it affects me and it shouldn’t,” Schmuhl said. “I just wasn’t in the right mind-set today.”
Another reason for Analy’s turnaround in the rematch was improvement by two Tigers players: Taylor Ocacio and Abby Sortino. Ocacio shot a 75 in the first meeting but improved to 56 in the win, a 19-stroke reduction. Sortino dropped her score 11 strokes from a 65 to a 54.
“I was having a bad day the last time we played (Healdsburg),” Ocacio said. “I was more into the game today.”
Healdsburg was led by its top golfer, senior Olivia Bean, who shot a 45.
“We worked really hard and were ready for today,” Bean said. “The greens were a little slower than in the past.”
Lloyd had a different take on the greens. “Whatever happened today it was difficult putting. It was fast and bumpy. It was tough to hit a smooth ball.”
As competitive as the teams have been, the rivalry is friendly and built on mutual respect.
“We are really looking forward to the SCL Tournament,” Lloyd said. “Healdsburg is a consummate opponent.”
Wann said that despite the loss, the Greyhounds were holding their own, especially since they only have three experienced golfers.
“We have a winning team, a great group of girls and great competition,” Wann said.