Thursday, February 22, 2024

Islander Girls Golf: City Conference Championship Tournament & The Best of the Rest

This past week, the Lady Islanders golf team competed in the annual San Diego City Conference Championship held at Balboa Park Golf Course. The eighteen-hole course hosted 41 players from 12 high schools across both the Western and Eastern Leagues. Coronado entered five girls as a team along with three other schools: Cathedral Catholic, Scripps Ranch, and Morse. 

Playing at 5400 yards from the red tees, the front nine was a familiar sight to the girls as they had participated in previous matches at Balboa Park. The back nine was more foreign, but the entire course boasted undulating fairways, steep hills, massive canyons, and stunning views of the Downtown San Diego skyline. 

Sophomore Bella Villarin was first among the Islanders with an impressive score of 7-over par 79; she placed 4th in the tournament after a card-off for third place. 

Fellow sophomore Jasmine Lo was next with a round of 11-over par 83, securing 8th place and a spot in the top 10. Junior Mariella Avanni was 16th with a round of 92, and her sister Natalia Avanni was 28th after she carded a 96. Freshman Malia Perry rounded out the Islanders with a score of 97. With a cumulative score of 447, Coronado was third among the four schools, trailing just behind Scripps Ranch who totaled 429 and Cathedral Catholic with a 441. 

Coronado team scores from the San Diego City Girls Golf website.

After the first day of strokeplay, the top 16 players went head-to-head in an intense match play format. The number one seed faced the 16th seed, the number two seed faced the 15th seed, and so on and so forth. The girls squared off in nine-hole matches where just one player was crowned winner and moved on to the next day of match play. 

Three Islanders made the cut for match play: Mariella, Jasmine, and Bella. Mariella was the 16th seed and faced tournament leader Taylor Riley from Point Loma. After a hard-fought battle, Mariella fell to her opponent five and four. 

Jasmine faced the number nine seed and stuck it out until the eighth hole where she won her match two up with one hole to play, securing a spot in the quarterfinals. 

Bella was up against the number 13 seed and won her match easily three and two, also securing a place in the quarterfinals. 

On Wednesday, eight girls were left in the running to claim the championship title, two of which were from Coronado. With the lesser competition weeded out, matches were fiercer and more intense. It would be the third time in a row that the girls played the front nine of Balboa Park Golf Course, so players would have to rely on their confidence and technique to get them through to the next round. 

Jasmine was matched against Taylor and lost three and two. Bella won her match two up and secured a spot in the final four. 

Amongst the best of the best, the final four were set to play eighteen holes at the renowned Torrey Pines South Course. Host of the annual PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, San Diego City Amateur Golf Championship, and Junior World Golf Championship, the South Course is the longest course played in a regular PGA Tour event at an intimidating 7800 yards from the tips. With stunning backdrops of the Pacific Ocean, paragliders, and sights of Black’s Beach below the cliffs, Torrey Pines is placed near the top of every golfer’s golf course bucket list. 

Torrey Pine’s South Course beholds stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

From the yellow tees, the front nine of the South Course played at 2740 yards. Gusty winds, thick rough, and fast greens challenged the four players, but this time they were battling against their opponent and not the course. Bella was matched against Taylor and lost four and three after several missed putts. 

“The pin positions were almost the same as the last day of the Farmers Insurance Open, which made putting very difficult. It was quite an experience playing the South Course,” Coach Stuart Gordon shared. 

The girls were moved back to the white tees on the back nine, which played at just over 3000 yards. Bella struggled to make greens and found herself in several bunkers, but managed to battle it out being all square coming into the infamous par-five eighteenth hole. Her opponent conceded the hole after her ball found the water, and Bella won her match one up. She ended up placing third in the entire match play bracket. 

Sophomore Bella Villarin placed third in the match play bracket.

With hard-fought rounds in the books, the Islanders have learned much from this unique format and seen a completely different side to competitive golf.

2021 Fall City Conference Match Play Championship bracket from the San Diego City Girls Golf website.

Junior Varsity

To close out the season, the JV team competed in their version of CIF titled “The Best of the Rest.” Held at National City Golf Course, team scores were totaled to determine the winning school, and individual scores were also compared to distribute medals.

Star JV player and junior Madeline Tulagan ended her high school golf career on a high note by placing third in a field of nearly 40 players. She carded an impressive round of five-over par 39. Freshman Sierra Grella was next with a solid 51, and juniors Sadie Wong and Morgan Arendt both carded a 62. 

Junior Madeline Tulagan (pictured on the right) placed third in The Best of the Rest tournament.

“They all enjoyed the round and had fun; that’s what I like about the JV team,” Coach Stuart described. “Our team ended up placing fourth.”

Next week, the varsity team looks to square off in a three-way CIF play-in match against El Capitan and Oceanside at Coronado Golf Course. The winning school will earn a spot as a team at CIF, which will be held during the week of November 1st. 

Find San Diego Section girls golf and Western League standings here.

Find Coronado girls golf player information and match results here

Find Fall City Conference Match Play Championship results here.


Bella Villarin
Bella Villarin
Bella is a proud military brat who has been a resident of Coronado since 2015. She was born in Japan, and after a short stay in Virginia, traveled extensively throughout Asia while living in Singapore and picking up another language. A senior at Coronado High School, Bella can be found at the driving range or golf course when not in school, studying, writing, playing the guitar, or spending time with her family. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

More Local News