Vista Murrieta girls golfer Maddie Sammon wins sudden-death playoff to claim Southwestern League title – Press Enterprise

MENIFEE — Maddie and Lauren Sammon had never played together in a tournament prior to this this week’s Southwestern League girls golf championships.

What transpired during Thursday’s final round at Menifee Lakes Country Club is something neither will forget, as Maddie prevailed in a sudden-death playoff over her older sister and Great Oak’s Jessica Li.

“I don’t think what happened today will process emotionally for a while,” Maddie Sammon said. “These last two days were exhausting with warm temperatures and a tough golf course, but I’m so happy to win this tournament and join my sister on the list of champions.”

Lauren Sammon came into this year’s tournament seeking a third consecutive Southwestern League individual championship.

Maddie Sammon trailed overnight leader Li by two shots after an opening round 71. She used four birdies — including three in a row on holes 7 through 9 — to go out in 33 and grab the tournament lead. Sammon had a near ace on the 195-yard eighth hole.

After a triple bogey and two other bogeys, Li went out with a 5-over par 40 and trailed by five strokes. Lauren Sammon was shut out in the birdie column, went out in 36 and trailed by seven.

It was a struggle for Maddie down the stretch, as she made four bogeys and a double bogey to come home in 43 and shoot 76 for a two-day total of 147. Lauren shot a 1-under-par 36, coming in with two birdies in a three-hole span, to post 72 and a 147 of her own. Each sister had a putt to win on 18 but could not convert.

“Throughout the back nine, I was trying to pump up Maddie and keep her in a positive mindset,” Lauren said. “It would’ve been cool if I won, but to watch her win and play with her while she did it, that’s so special to me.”

Li found herself staring at a five-shot deficit at the start of the back nine, but she was steady on the back nine with a near ace and birdie on No. 13 and two bogeys to come home in 78 and join the playoff.

After waiting 15 minutes, all three players hit their tee shots right down the middle of the fairway on the first hole of sudden death. However, Maddie was the only one to find the green after hitting an approach shot 12 feet from the hole. Li and Lauren Sammon made bogeys from just in front of the green. Maddie ran her first putt 10 feet by the hole but made the comebacker to clinch the title.

It was the first victory by a freshman in the Southwestern League since Murrieta Mesa’s Elina Kuang won in 2019. This also marked the first time the league champion was decided in sudden death since 2014, when Great Oak’s Monika Poomcharoen claimed her second straight title.

The top seven golfers at the Southwestern League girls golf championships pose with their all-league patches Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. (Photo by Derryl Trujillo, Correspondent)
The top seven golfers at the Southwestern League girls golf championships pose with their all-league patches. (Photo by Derryl Trujillo, Correspondent)

Joining the Sammon sisters and Li as CIF Southern Section regional qualifiers are Great Oak’s Brooke Carpenter (76-76-152), Vista Murrieta’s Breanna Noble (73-81-154), Temecula Valley’s Kimi Arabe (81-75-156), Great Oak’s Skylar Earle (76-80-156)  and Vista Murrieta’s Wren Saithong (78-84-162).

The CIF-SS Central Regional individual qualifier will take place Monday, Oct. 23, at Bear Valley Country Club in Victorville.

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