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Watkins opens with 77; Vaqueros are second in South Coast Classic

Vanessa Watkins, who finished sixth in the state last year, opened the 2017 campaign with a 77 at Olivas Links GC. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Vanessa Watkins, who finished sixth in the state last year, opened the 2017 campaign with a 77 at Olivas Links GC. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Sophomore Vanessa Watkins fired a 5-over-par 77 on Sunday, leading SBCC to second place in the first round of the season-opening South Coast Classic women's golf tournament at Olivas Links GC in Ventura.

Watkins is the only returner from last year's 99-1 Vaquero squad that finished second in the state. Sierra, the defending state champion, leads the South Coast Classic at 12-over 300. The Vaqueros are second at 322 in the 10-team field, followed by Canyons (330), Desert (343) and Bakersfield (346).

Emily Dixon of Sierra was the medalist at 1-under 71 and teammate Neo Bando is second at 72. Watkins is tied for sixth. Freshman Stephanie Farouze and sophomore Jessica Safford both shot 81 for the Vaqueros.

"Sierra reloaded and they're excellent again," said Vaquero coach Chuck Melendez, who's starting his 18th season at the helm. "We played OK but I think we can play a lot better. We're shooting for a 5- to 10-stroke improvement tomorrow."

The final round will take place on Monday at Buenaventura GC, starting at 7:30 a.m. The first Western State Conference match will also be contested on Monday.
 
South Coast Classic
At par-72 Olivas Links GC
First round
 
Team -- 1, Sierra 300. 2, SBCC 322. 3, Canyons 330. 4, Desert 343. 5, Bakersfield 346. 6, Irvine Valley 349. 7, Moorpark 351. 8, Mt. SAC 352. 9, Citrus 360. 10, Antelope Valley 393.
 Medalist -- 1, Emily Dixon, Sierra, 71. 2, Nao Bando, Sierra, 72. 3, Li Chi Liu, Desert, 73.
 SBCC scores – 6 (tie), Vanessa Watkins 77, Stephanie Farouze 81, Jessica Safford 81, Elly Carlson 83, Lauren Calvin 83, Elle Gaston 85. Competing as individuals: Kayla Karst 103, Juliet Parsons 103.