Girls golf: Falcons start the season with two victories

September 20, 2019 — by Kevin Sze and Alex Wang

Stepping away from hole nine at the Saratoga Country Club, No. 1 golfer senior Alice Lin finished the day with a score of 31, 3 under par. Coach Dave Gragnola said it was the lowest score he has witnessed during his eight years as the girls’ coach.

With Lin’s score, the Falcons defeated the Gunn High School Titans 214-222 on Sept. 16, bringing their record to 2-0.

“I was pretty surprised that we won because we needed everyone to play well in order to win,” No. 3 golfer senior Sally Kim said. “After that match, I’m pretty confident in our team.”

Earlier on Sept. 9, senior No. 5 golfer Nikita Pawar tapped in her ball into the hole with a smooth stroke of her putter on the par three ninth-hole at Saratoga Country Club. 

In her first match ever, Pawar’s 45 proved crucial as it helped Saratoga overcome a five-stroke deficit and beat Mountain View 212-216. In addition to Pawar’s solid performance, No. 2 golfer junior Jane Loo led the team with a 38.

One of the biggest challenges this season will be overcoming the loss of former captain and No. 1 player Janelle Jin to graduation. After leading the team all four of her years at Saratoga, Jin is continuing golf at Amherst University. 

No. 4 golfer sophomore Savannah Lin thinks the team’s success will rely on depth and hard work. 

“We are trying to get the new members of the travel team accustomed to competition by playing with them on the golf course,” Lin said. “We are practicing hard because we know in order to make CCS, we will need to improve.”

An integral part of the team has been Gragnola, who emphasizes player improvement as one of his priorities and stresses the importance of drills and course management.

“We’ve been working on our bunker shots and a lot of short game stuff with (coach Gragnola),” Loo said. “He’s also taken some of the players on the course in order to teach us strategy, so we can score lower.”

With all that preparation, Loo and the rest of the team are looking forward to key matches against rivals Los Gatos at home on Sept. 30, and historically strong Palo Alto away Oct. 1

Due to printing deadlines, the Falcon was unable to cover the Sept. 24 match against Los Gatos in this print issue.