Yosemite High junior Claire Oetinger had the biggest challenge of her young golf career Nov. 10 as she faced other top girl golfers in the Southern California State Sectional Golf Tournament on San Bernardino. After a successful regular season and being named the North Sequoia League Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, and with the Badgers winning its 12th consecutive North Sequoia League title, Oetinger had a day she would just as well forget, shooting an uncharacteristic 91 to end her season.
Her season ended with her ranked in the top 200 high school girls golfers in the state.
“I learned a lot this season and will work on the mental part of the game,” Oetinger said. “I am determined to come back stronger nest year.”
Oetinger is the eighth Yosemite golfer to make it to the prestigious Southern California Sectional Tournament. Many players from the LPGA and PGA have played in the tournament. The year that former Badger Jed Noonkester made it to the tournament, it was won by now PGA professional Ricky Fowler, ranked No. 4 in the world in January.
Only the top nine golfers from the field of 120 advanced to today’s (Nov. 17) state final tournament played in Rancho Cucamonga. No Yosemite golfer has ever made the state finals.
Prior to the tournament Oetinger won the North Sequoia League League Championship by finishing first out of 36 players, shooting a 76. She then shot a 75 to finish tied for third at the North Area Championship with 48 players in the field. Finally she shot a 91 to finish tied for 13th at the Valley Championship, with 96 players in the field.
Oetinger’s goals for next year include making it to the state championship tournament and being selected to participate in The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. She is currently being recruited by the golf coach at Cal Sate Monterey.
12th league title
The Yosemite High girls golf team won the North Sequoia League title by winning every mini tournament, and were the North Area D-II champions despite two of their players unable to play in the tournament.
At the Section Cham pionship the team narrowly missed winning its second D-II Championship in the past three years. They were runners up to the Lemoore Tigers.
“Last year we didn’t have a chance to win, but this year our young team, which only consisted of one senior, finished second,” Head Coach Rusty Oetinger said. “The girls were very disappointed and are already looking to next year. We cannot be discouraged. Last year we had four players that played in the championship, and this year two of our players have never played in such a big tournament with the pressure that puts on them. This loss will only make us better for next year. We have some good returning talent and some new talent coming in next year and we will continue to get stronger as a team.”