Arroyo Grande's girls golf team did the same thing at the PAC 8 League Finals that, save for one tie against San Luis Obispo, it has done in league competition all season.

The Eagles won.

Medalist Vanessa Watkins led Arroyo Grande to victory Wednesday at the Rancho Maria Golf Club, Righetti's home course, with a 76. Though a potentially strong Eagles score was discarded because of an inadvertent scoring mistake on the back nine, Arroyo Grande defeated runner-up San Luis Obispo 461-467. The Tigers finished second in the overall league standings.

As far as determining the league team championship, the result Wednesday was academic since the Eagles had all but wrapped up the league title going in. Still, Watkins and Arroyo Grande coach Claudia Souder said, the victory at the league finals was nice.

"This is my first year (at Arroyo Grande)," said Watkins, a senior. "I played varsity golf for three years at Highland High School in Bakersfield, and this is the first year I've played for a league champion. It feels really good."

Watkins was a three-time league individual league champion when she played for Highland. "I came in second by a stroke this time, and that's tough," she said. "But Sarah played so amazing."

Sarah Fouratt was who Watkins referred to. The Righetti sophomore repeated as PAC 8 League champion, her score of 79 Wednesday good enough for her to hold the lead. She led Watkins by four strokes going in.

"I've played this course a lot," Fouratt said. "My score today isn't a great score for me on this course, but it was OK. I knew the race for the individual title was tight going in."

Watkins tamed what she said is a tough course.

"It's rough," she said. "It's narrow. I usually hit to the right (off the tee), so the course didn't set up well for me. Because of that, I aimed left. My woods, my second shots on the par fives, were what worked best for me today.

"I had four birdies, and that's good for me on this course."

Only the top team in the PAC 8 League standings qualifies for the CIF Southern Section Northern Regional Team Tournament. Arroyo Grande will play in the Regional Nov. 2 at Soule Park in Ojai.

The top four PAC 8 individuals in the final standings qualified for the sectional Northern Regional Individual Tournament that takes place Monday at River Ridge Park in Oxnard. Those four are Fouratt, Watkins, and Kinsey McBryde and Delanie Dunkle of Arroyo Grande.

McBryde shot a 78 for the Eagles, the second-best score Wednesday. She also made a hole in one on par three hole No. 6.

"That was my first hole in one ever," said the junior. "I believe the hole is 185 yards.

"My tee shot felt good when I hit it. It bounced BEFORE the green, and it just kept rolling toward the hole. I thought, 'Dang. Wow.'"

Righetti finished third with a team score of 509 Wednesday. St. Joseph was sixth at 568. Pioneer Valley was seventh at 627.

Besides Watkins and Fouratt, other team leaders included Isabel Carpenter for San Luis Obispo (82), Morgan Humphrey for Atascadero (93), Mikayla Stone for Paso Robles (97), Sara Cossa for St. Joseph (105) and Claudia Smith for Pioneer Valley (106).

Souder has been Arroyo Grande's coach for 16 years and, "We've never had this kind of balance," she said.

"We broke every school record except one this year, the individual low score record that Kinsey set last year, one-under 35 (for nine holes) at Cypress Ridge." Cypress Ridge is Arroyo Grande's home course.

As league individual champion, Fouratt is the league MVP. All-PAC 8 League First Team members are Watkins, McBryde, Dunkle, Carpenter, Humphrey, Sydney Haughian of Mission Prep and Lisa Figueroa of San Luis Obispo.

Second Team members include Bee Sol and Emily Lemiere of San Luis Obispo, Mikayla Stone and Mary Hambly of Paso Robles, Delaney Nolan of Righetti, Jenna Lewis of Atascadero and Emily Whitehead of Arroyo Grande.   


Sports Reporter