Boys golf team feat. Lydia Choi, compete at S. Hills

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Audrey Park, staff writer

Varsity golf competed in and placed third in the West Covina Bulldog Invitational on Monday, March 24 at the Southern Hills Country Club. Approximately 20 schools, with 120 athletes, competed in the tournament.

Before the tournament began, senior Lydia Choi was “a little nervous because she was the only girl on the field.” This year marked the first year in the history of Beverly where a girl has been placed on the boys golf team.

“I kept assuring myself that I was prepared and capable of shooting a good score,” Choi said. “The boys hit their ball a lot longer than I do. I was around 50 yards behind them on every hole. It was a disadvantage for me, but I kept telling myself that distance difference was not a big deal, and that my short game will make up for it. I had to keep myself feeling confident the whole round.”

Coach Jason Newman decided to put Choi on the boys team because there weren’t enough girls to form a self-standing girls golf team.

“According to CIF rules, Lydia was able to compete in the individual tournament involved with girls golf, but in terms of the team she’s able to participate with the boys,” Newman said.

The boys golf team plays in courses 500 to 600 yards longer than girls’ golf courses. Therefore, according to Choi, she had to “practice more on her longer clubs and her short games.” She ended up finishing third individually by shooting 73 points.

“It was a huge accomplishment for me and it felt great. I know now that I am capable of competing with boys that hit it so much further than I do,” Choi said. “There were many holes that I couldn’t reach, so it was important to have my short game in top top shape in order to save pars.”

During the game, sophomore Carson Mandic was “frustrated” because he and a couple of the teammates “didn’t play to their own expectations.” However, he was proud of the team’s achievement.

“When the team does well and you’re not at your best you really feel as though you didn’t contribute,” Mandic said. “[However] it’s great to see Beverly winning again. Last year was upsetting but our team is coming around and coming in with such a high finish.”

The team also competed in a match against Torrance on Tuesday, March 25. However, they lost by one stroke.

“It was very frustrating because we had at least one shot, chip or putt that we could have done better,” Choi said. “We learned that every shot counts. All of us made mistakes during the round today. Losing by one was very heartbreaking, but it was a good experience for us.”

Before the match began, Carson “felt a little anxious” because he didn’t “perform his best at the tournament on Monday.” However, he believes that overall the “team performed great and is showing signs of a good year to come.”

The match proved to be a “learning experience for many of the team members,” according to junior Josh Masjedi. He believes that he “learned a lot from Lydia and that he should practice more to contribute as much as he could for the team.”

Newman believes that success can’t be based on record, but on “learning what it takes to excel.”

“Goals are not so much wins, losses or how we ultimately do. Wins and losses will take care of themselves and are secondary to the life lessons learned through sports,” he said. “Goals are based on day to day experience, work and what goes into the preparation for being a good player. The right path to success is when athletes work as hard as they can, and even use weekends for preparation.”

The team will next participate in a match against Torrance at Los Verdes on Thursday, March 27.

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