Girls golf preview: Palos Verdes takes a swing at matching 2012 CIF championship team

The 2017 Palos Verdes High girls golf team returns all-league performers, from left, Arianna Proul, Dana Otera, Nicole Chernoff, Megan Gormley, Cashel Downs and Meg Yoshida. Photo By Robert Casillas,Daily Breeze/ SCNG
The 2017 Palos Verdes High girls golf team returns all-league performers, from left, Arianna Proul, Dana Otera, Nicole Chernoff, Megan Gormley, Cashel Downs and Meg Yoshida. Photo By Robert Casillas,Daily Breeze/ SCNG

The 2012 Palos Verdes girls golf team is a special one for coach Ray Rivera.

That year, PV captured the CIF-Southern Section Central Division title, defeating Mira Costa and from that team, six golfers went onto play in college.

Fast forward to 2017 and the present — and future — looks bright, as well, for the Sea Kings.

“This is the strongest team we’ve had since then,” Rivera said.

Senior Cashel Downs and sophomore Megan Gormley are both returning first team All-Area golfers. Senior Arianna Proul earned second team honors last season and Nicole Chernoff (senior) and Dana Otera (junior) are also key returners.

“We have a large team because it (the program) has grown and attracted some of the better players in the area,” Downs said. “We’re really good score-wise and I enjoy the people in it (the team).”

And then there is the freshman, Meg Yoshida.

Before arriving for her freshman year, she placed in the top 20 of her age group at the Junior World Championships and has carried her strong play into her first high school season.

“I saw her junior golf scores and I knew we had a good golfer coming in, adding to the other kids we had returning on the team,” Rivera said.

Her introduction to the sport was innocent, at least to her.

“When I was three, my dad bought me a set of plastic clubs,” she said. “I went into my first tournament when I was seven or eight and I saw a bunch of girls practicing on the greens and I was excited.”

As the youngest on the team, Yoshida said she initially had hesitations joining the team

“I was scared, but they’re really welcomed me with open arms and they’re really great friends,” she said. “I was partially scared because they’re a lot older than me and they knew how the matches went and they were experienced and this was my first time joining a team.”

Her play has made the transition seamless.

“She’s scoring really low this season,” Downs said of Yoshida. “She’s consistently scoring low and really helping out the team.”

A perfect example of the Sea Kings’ depth came in last week’s victory over Torrance. Yoshida posted a 2-over-par 37, Downs and Proul shot 40 and 41, respectively.

“We’re having fun and scoring low,” Downs said. “It’s been great.”

Circle the dates

The CIF-SS Individual Regionals are set for Oct. 23-24 (Northern at Soule Park Golf Course in Ojai and Southern at Dad Miller in Anaheim.

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The CIF-SS Division Team Championships will take place, Oct. 30. There are four divisions Central (Los Serranos Country Club), Eastern (Jurupa Hills Golf Course), Northern (Los Robles Greens) and Southern (Miles Square Golf Course).

The individual finals and CIF-WSCGA Team Qualifier — stages at the same tournament — are Nov. 2 at River Ridge Golf Club in Oxnard.

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