Girls golf: Ukiah reaches NCS final as Schutz stars

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Extending the girls prep golf season, Ukiah’s team and a pair of Empire girls played well enough in the North Coast Section qualifier to reach next week’s finals.

Low scorer among Empire golfers was Emily Hulsman, from Casa Grande, and close behind was Cassidy Schutz, who led Ukiah.

“My putting was better than it usually is, so that helped save me,” Hulsman said. “My chips weren’t really on today. They just kept rolling off.”

A sharp short game helped Schutz complete the low round for Ukiah.

“My drives weren’t the best, but my chip shots made up for it,” Schutz said. “Everybody on the team had a good day. It just made our chances better.”

Held at Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord, the NCS Division 1 Qualifier is an opportunity for teams and individuals to advance to the NCS Tournament of Champions.

Ukiah finished ninth among the dozen teams on Monday qualifying for a TOC berth. Eight individuals also moved on. Hulsman was third, with an 85, and Sarah Jane Catarozoli, from Petaluma, grabbed the final spot, with a 97.

Already in the TOC are Maria Carrillo, the North Bay League champion, and Analy, gaining the automatic entry by winning the Sonoma County League tournament title.

For the second season in succession Ukiah’s girls kept their season alive in the section qualifier. Runners-up in the NBL, the Wildcats were a confident group.

Returning five players from a year ago Ukiah has continued to lower scores heading into the season’s biggest tournaments.

“We knew that they’re going to be tough teams. But we’re playing well. Everybody’s improved,” said Schutz, who shot an 89.

The Concord course was set up for flat, fast play. The qualifier was completed about an hour sooner than in past years.

“I thought we had a really good chance to advance. They had a good year,” said Ukiah coach Chris Philbrick. “The competition next week is going to be really, really tough.”

Also qualifying for the section TOC a second consecutive year is Hulsman. Number three in the NBL on the season, Hulsman recognizes she must play her best in the section finals to have a chance of moving on to the NorCal Regional Championships.

“I’m going to have to stay on my A-game to a whole new level,” she said. “I’m still proud that I’ve gotten as far as I did last year.”

NEWMAN STAR FALLS SHY

One of the Empire’s top prep girls golfers finished a single shot short of qualifying for the North Coast Section finals.
Megan McConnell, from Cardinal Newman, scored an 88 in the NCS Division 2 Championship. That was one shot behind the eighth and final player to qualify for the NCS Tournament of Champions next week.

The small school finals were held at Beau Pre Golf Course, in McKinleyville, on Monday.

Second in the North Bay League on the season, McConnell was seeking a second consecutive section TOC appearance.

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