Yosemite High’s girls golf team finished the regular season by showing their dominance last Wednesday at the Madera Municipal Golf Course.
The Badgers posted a team score of 457. The next best team was Chowchilla finishing a distant second (58 strokes behind)For the third consecutive year , with a team score of 516. Kerman finished third at 575.
The Yosemite team was led by senior Claire Oetinger. Not only was she trying to lead her team to the team North Sequoia Title for the 13th consecutive year, she was looking to complete her golf career at Yosemite by winning her third straight MVP title.
MVP and all league points are awarded each week, based on how the girls finish in the mini tournaments throughout the season. Going into the final tournament, Oetinger was behind Claire Wright of Chowchilla by a single point. The last tournament of the year is worth double the points, so it was a winner take all match for the two Claires.
Oetinger started off the day by getting a couple of strokes ahead of Wright and keeping that pace until the final four holes. With four holes to go, Wright had made up the difference and momentum had swung her way, and on the 15th hole Wright seemed to get the upper hand by chipping her third shot to within a foot of the hole. She tapped in for par, while Oetinger was looking at a 20 foot putt to save par. She took her time and calmly stroked the ball into the cup.
Oetinger walked off the green knowing that she just saved herself from falling behind Wright.
The 16th hole was the beginning of what would be a defining moment for Oetinger. She hit her shot on the par 3 to about 15 feet above the hole. Wright then hit her shot short of the green. Wright mishit her chip shot, leaving her with a 10-foot putt for par.
Oetinger was above the hole with a very fast down hill putt. When she hit the putt, it looked like she hit it too hard and the ball would be off the green. But the ball hit the back of the cup, jumped straight up in the air and dropped in the cup for a birdie.
Wright then missed her put 10-foot putt and ended up with a bogey, giving Oetinger a two stroke lead.
Both girls hit their drives on the 17th hole about even and Wright pushed her second shot just to the right of the green. Then Oetinger, griping her 3-wood, hit the shot of the day.
From about 180 yards out, her shot hit the green and stopped about 10 feet from the cup, giving her a chance for a an eagle. Wright missed her 12-foot putt for a birdie Oetinger then putted for an eagle, leaving her ball on the lip of the cup. She tapped in for her second birdie in two holes, and had a four stroke lead with one hole to go.
She finished the round with a personal best 75, and secured her third consecutive NSL MVP.
“Those last four holes were the most amazing holes I have watched Claire play,” said father-coach Rusty Oetinger. “I am very proud of my daughter and all that she has accomplished ... she has reached many of the goals that she set for herself this season.”
Although the rest of the rounds were not as dramatic, the Badger team had a number of personal bests. Trinity Curtis shot 89, Sarah Meeks 91, Meagan Rich 100, and Sarah Davey 102.
Curtis and Meeks were named to the NSL All League team, and Taylor Oetinger, a freshman, finished as the best underclassman in the league.
The team played Tuesday at the North Area Championship against Central High to see who represents the northern part of the section for the CIF D-II Championship. See www.sierrastar.com for results.