PASADENA – Kennedy High School principal Regina Zerbano likes to refer to Irene Kim as the Godfather, but not because the Fighting Irish golfer reminds her of a character in a Mario Puzo novel.
On the course, Kim earns nothing but respect, often drawing crowds of young players who hang on her every shot.
They couldn’t find a better swing to study.
Kim once again made school history Thursday by becoming the first girls golfer from Kennedy to win the SCGA Southern California Championship.
She drained a 10-foot birdie putt on her final hole at Brookside Golf Course to card a 5-under par 68 and secure a one-stroke victory.
“Today, I just had the mindset of trying to enjoy golf and not focusing on the score,” Kim said. “I feel like ever since I have been winning and doing well in CIF, I have a lot of pride playing for Kennedy.”
Kim along with the top nine individuals earned a spot in the CIF State Championship, which will be played next week at Victoria Country Club in Riverside. Jennifer Cai of Sage Hill and Chayse Gomez of Rosary posted a 72 and 74, respectively, to be among those who earned spots in the state tournament.
This will be the second time in the last three seasons that Kim has moved on to the prestigious tournament.
“She has the ability to shake off negative shots. She seems to get back on track quickly and is very steady,” Kennedy coach John Teutimez said. “This is big for our school. No other girl in our history has come close to doing what she has done. She is very special.”
Troy qualified for state for the third consecutive year by placing second in the team competition with a 392. Mater Dei of Chula Vista and Diamond Bar also advanced by finishing first and third, respectively. Mater Dei won with a 13-over-par 378.
Isabel Sy led Troy with a 2-over-par 75. She was tied for the lead at 4-under with six holes to play, but she carded two bogeys and one double-bogey on her way into the clubhouse.
“As a coach, the overall goal is to get to state, and up to this point, we have been blowing everyone away, so this is a bit of a setback,” Troy coach Jerry Cowgill said. “We didn’t keep playing at the top of our game, but it is tough for everyone out here. I know the girls are frustrated, so we need to talk about what we need to do to get better. Maybe a reality check for us is a good thing.”
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