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Kelly Xu takes fourth place at state tournament

Claremont High School freshman Kelly Xu finished in a three-way tie for fourth place on Wednesday at the CIF Girls State Championships at the Victoria Country Club in Riverside.

Xu shot a one under par 71, which was actually the third best score of the day, but there was a tie for second, so by default she got fourth. Also shooting a 71 were Briana Chacon of La Serna and Emma Han of Diamond Bar. Xu beat the average for the day, 79, by eight strokes.

The state champion Brianna Navarrosa of Chula Vista’s Mater Dei, had an amazing day on the links with birdies on five of the final six holes, for a four under par 68. Second place at two under par were Mika Jin of Irvington and Alexa Melton of South Hills.

In a qualifying round last week at Brookside Golf Course in Riverside Xu finished third at the Southern California Championships with a two under par 71.

Out of over 6,000 high school golfers, only 18 qualified for the CIF State Championships. Xu came into the day seeded third with the prospect of being the first CHS golfer ever to win a state title.

On Wednesday Xu shot par on the first three holes but bogeyed holes four, six and seven. Many high school golfers would have given up mentally at that point, but not Xu; she birdied the next two holes for a 36, one over par, on the front nine holes.

She got two more bogeys but fought back with birdies on three of the final five holes including the 18th.

“That is her third consecutive post-season round under par,” Coach Terrance Lynch said.  “In a ‘who’s who’ field of nationally ranked top-100 players, our 14-year-old phenom battled all day long with five bogeys and six birdies.”

Xu beat both of her playing partners, Anne Chen of Pleasant Valley and Irene Kim of Kennedy, who both have full-ride scholarships to Division 1 colleges, according to Coach Lynch. 

“I’m super impressed with her resiliency as she finished the day with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes,” Coach Lynch said.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com