LEMOORE — Lemoore had been looking for a complete round of golf all season long — and they finally found it on Thursday.
The Tigers shot their way to a second-place finish at the final 18-hole West Yosemite League tournament of the season at Lemoore Golf Course.
The team shot a combined 467 on their home course with No. 2 golfer Ashley Alaniz leading the charge by shooting a Tiger-best 87.
“This is the best score that I’ve shot and I’m kind of ecstatic about it," Alaniz said after her round. "I feel like there’s always room for improvement.”
During the previous 18-hole tournament at Valley Oaks Golf Course on Sept. 20, Alaniz shot a 96. Her nine-stroke difference was thanks to an even 18 holes where she shot a 43 on the front nine and 44 on the back nine.
Her 87 was the fourth lowest on the day out of 35 golfers. One of her keys to success was her short game, which allowed her to avoid any big numbers on her card.
“My short game was really coming in clutch throughout the holes where I wasn’t doing too good,” Alaniz said. “I relied heavily on that.”
The performance was a welcome sight for Lemoore coach Kevin Roberts who said it was what he expected not only from Alaniz, but his whole team.
“Honestly, I’m ecstatic because that’s the score I’ve been looking for all year from them,” Roberts said. “And finally we put it together today. I just hope that the momentum we created today carries on to next Tuesday.”
No. 1 golfer Janelle Sweeney put on a heroic performance by taking the course even with the flu. Suffering from a fever just the night before, she carded an 89 — four strokes better than her last 18-hole tournament.
“That’s what a leader’s all about,” Roberts said. “Whenever you see something like that, where you know that she should be at home in bed because she’s puking her guts out, but to come out here and support her team and fight through it the way she did … that to me is a leader.”
The rest of the Tigers all shot better than their previous tournament as well. No. 4 Jaylene Olaes shot a 92, No. 3 Victoria Sheldon shot a 94, No. 5 Nevaeh Lorenz shot a 105 and No. 6 Aliyah Cerda finished with a non-qualifying 107.
Lemoore finished fourth overall in the West Yosemite League standings with 21 points.
“We’re a very young team,” Alaniz, a junior, said. “I believe that we have a lot of potential to do great things. I think next season we’re really going to take the other teams by storm.”
The team that finished in front of them for third in the WYL was the Bullpups. But on Thursday they finished fourth with a team score of 504. The Bullpups only had five golfers for the second week in a row, but each and every one of them came through for Hanford coach Keenan Wyand.
“They all knew that their scores were going to count and they did their best,” Wyand said. “Four shots off of last week at Valley Oaks, but well within our goal of making the cut to Valley.”
The cut for the Division III championships is 560 and both the Bullpups and Tigers shot well below that. The 18-hole qualifier for the championships is next Tuesday and will be held again at Lemoore Golf Course with a start time of 11 a.m.
No. 1 golfer Jillian Shipp paced the Bullpups with a team-low 91. Although it wasn’t a bad round, Shipp said she could’ve done better.
“I had a couple shots that I really struggled with and that’s when strokes come in that don’t need to come in,” Shipp said. “And a couple stupid mistakes that I know I shouldn’t make, but I did. Ninety-one’s not terrible — I was hoping to break 90 — but that’s OK there’s always next match.”
No. 5 Lauren Dutra stepped up for the team in a big way and carded a 97. It was 10 strokes better than the last 18-hole tournament and her 47 on the front nine was a season-best for her over nine holes.
“Very, very pleased with her today,” Wyand said. “She’s playing with a heavy heart today. Her pop-pop passed away two days ago, so just her being here showed me a lot of commitment and how much it means to her.”
No. 2 Katie Barragan finished with a 101, No. 3 Ashlyn Vidana shot a 104 and No. 4 Emily Barragan carded a 111.
The Bullpups end in third in the WYL, which Wyand said he was very pleased with, but it’s the qualifier next week which is what he’s most looking forward to.
“What I’m looking forward to is playing our best on Tuesday, shooting our best score, making the cut — well under — we’re going to shoot in the 400s, not 500s, and then coming back here on [Oct.] 22,” Wyand said.