Yosemite High golfer Claire Oetinger, two time North Sequoia League MVP, has continued to play well, but finds herself in a close competition with Claire Wright from Chowchilla for this season’s MVP honor.
Over the first three league tournaments, Oetinger and Wright have each won a tournament and are separated by just two points. On Sept. 18, they tied, both shooting a two over par 38 at Madera Municipal, but Wright has the edge because of one extra birdie.
“It is fun playing against a good player and friend like Claire Wright,” Oetinger said after Monday’s match. “She just pushes me to get better each week. Even though we are competing, we really encourage one another. I am really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
As for the rest of the Yosemite team, strong play by Sarah Davey, Trinity Curtis, and Sarah Meeks over the past couple of weeks has vaulted the Badgers into first place in the NSL. Curtis shot a 44 on Tuesday, and Meeks has earned the team 25 points from her play in the last two tournaments.
“This is how I thought we would play from the beginning, but the smoke from the fires delayed practices and caused us to be a little rough in the beginning,” Coach Oetinger said. “I think by the end of the season, we will really be playing well and have a chance to get back to playing for the section championship once again.”
The Lady Badgers will host a league match at 2 p.m., Sept. 27, at River Creek.
Oetinger competing this week at Pebble Beach
Oetinger’s solid play gives her confidence going into The Pure Insurance - First Tee Open this week on the Monterey Peninsula.
She was picked up by The First Tee of Fresno staff after Monday’s match in Madera, for her once-in-a-lifetime experience at Pebble Beach.
Oetinger had practice rounds Monday at Poppy Hills, and Tuesday at the Pebble Beach. Her PGA Senior Tour partner for the tournament was announced Wednesday.
“I haven’t seen her play this confident and consistent since she qualified for the State Southern Sectional last fall,” said Oetinger, her dad and coach. “I am so proud of her. It is amazing to watch my daughter transition into a confident young woman. I look forward to watching her this week at The First Tee Open. I imagine that there will be a few tears of joy, as I watch her stroll the grounds of Pebble Beach over the week.”
One bonus for this up coming week, is that Claire has been chosen to represent The First Tee of Fresno in the Coca Cola Challenge Skins Game (with partner pro Jeff Sluman) on Thursday afternoon. Her and her playing professional will be playing to try and win their share of $40,000. If she and her partner win a share of the prize, the money is split between the two of them for The First Tee Chapters they represent.