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Vaqueros edge Cuyamaca by 1 for So Cal title; Carlson takes sixth

Vanessa Watkins, a sophomore from Arroyo Grande, shot the fourth-best score on Monday with a 6-over 78. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Vanessa Watkins, a sophomore from Arroyo Grande, shot the fourth-best score on Monday with a 6-over 78. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Vanessa Watkins shot 78 on Monday and Elly Carlson carded an 80 to lead SBCC to the Southern Cal Regional women's golf title at Temecula Creek Inn.

The Vaqueros edged Cuyamaca by a single shot, 661-662. Santa Barbara took a 7-stroke lead into Monday's final round but the Coyotes turned in one of their best scores of the year (325) while the Vaqueros shot 331.

Canyons was third in the 10-team, two-day tourney at 696 and Moorpark finished fourth at 706. The top four teams advanced to the State Finals on Sunday and Monday at Morro Bay Golf Course.

"We didn't play very well but we got the job done," said SBCC coach Chuck Melendez. "Elly was very steady and Vanessa played a lot better today. She had a great putting round."

Carlson shot 77 and 80 for a 157. She finished sixth after a scorecard playoff with JoJo Roecker of Canyons. Watkins (84-78) had a six-shot improvement and shot the fourth-lowest score on Monday to tie for eighth at 162. Jessica Safford was the third-best Vaquero scorer with rounds of 84 and 85.

It was the third straight So Cal Regional title for SBCC, last year's state runner-up. The Vaqueros improved to 85-1 this year and 184-2 the last two years. Both losses came to Sierra.

Kaylee Jeon of Fullerton was the medalist, shooting 75 and 77 for an 8-over 152. Kylie Sok (82-74) of Irvine Valley was second at 156.

"Jessica Safford was a big key to our victory," said Melendez. "This was a tough course. The good news is we can play much better. It will be nice going to a familiar place for the State Finals."

The Vaqueros won the North-South Invitational on the same Morro Bay course on Sept. 24-25. They beat defending state champion Sierra by 13 shots.

"Sierra has been posting some low scores lately," Melendez added. "We'll need a full team effort from all six players to win the title."

Sierra shot 323 and 324 to win the Northern Cal title by 20 shots over Modesto at Buena Vista GC in Taft.

The Vaqueros have four state championships and two runner-up finishes in the last 11 years. They won state titles in 2006, 2008, 2013 and 2015 and had the state individual champ each time.

Southern Cal Regional
At par-72 Temecula Creek Inn
Final 36-hole scores
 
Team (top 4 advance to State Finals) -- 1, SBCC 330-331--661. 2, Cuyamaca 337-325--662. 3, Canyons 349-347--696. 4, Moorpark 356-350--706. 5, Saddleback 356-353--709. 6, Irvine Valley 356-357--713. 7, Fullerton 360-357--717. 8, Citrus 355-382--737. 9, Palomar 394-389--783. 10, Desert 394-394--788.
 Medalist -- 1, Kaylee Jeon, Fullerton, 75-77--152. 2, Kylie Sok, Irvine Valley, 82-74--156. 3, Georgia Shevitt, Moorpark, 76-80--156. 4, Brittney Do, Saddleback, 79-77--156. 5, JoJo Roecker, Canyons, 77-80--157. 6, Elly Carlson, SBCC, 77-80--157. 7, Stephanie Ksiazek, Cuyamaca, 81-80--161. 8 (tie), Vanessa Watkins, SBCC, 84-78--162; Leanna Mena, Cuyamaca, 83-79--162.
 SBCC scores -- 6, Carlson 77-80--157. 8 (tie), Watkins 84-78--162. 17 (tie), Jessica Safford 84-85--169. 21 (tie), Lauren Calvin 86-88--174. 30 (tie), Stephanie Farouze 85-95--180. 32 (tie), Elle Gaston 93-88--181.
 SBCC overall record -- 85-1.