Despite the departure of several key players, the Palo Alto High School golf machine has continued to annihilate the competition since the start of the season and now boasts an undefeated 7-0 record. This puts them atop the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) and in prime position to make a run at the Central Coast Section (CCS) trophy, and maybe even the NorCal championship.
Despite the tragic loss of several golfers to college, the golf team’s leaders have largely remained unchanged. Leading the pack is junior golf prodigy Ahmed Ali. He has continued to improve from last year’s performance. Some notable finishes include the match against Cupertino High School, during which Ali shot an impressive 34 for nine holes and received a medal. Early on in the season against Sacred Heart Prep, Ali shot an even more impressive score of 33 at Sharon Heights Country Club, a notoriously difficult course.
Timothy Liu and junior Sergi Mata have also both shown their ability to score well for the team. While Liu has been scoring well, Mata is often only a few strokes off Ali. Although consistency has been a minor issue, he has been an important part of the team. Perhaps the most impressive storyline of the season is in regards to the golfer’s who compensated for the loss of key players.
“Despite losing a few seniors, we have had several new freshmen take their places,”
junior Joonsung Ha
In fact, those freshmen have been integral in the team’s undefeated run. In a close match with Cupertino, freshman Akira Isayama was the second lowest scorer at 39. Freshman Ben Felter has also shown his abilities to be competitive at a varsity level with a 44 against Sacred Heart Prep. Yet another high achieving freshman is Bob Zhu, who has posted several competitive scores, including a 40 against crosstown rival Gunn.
It may be surprising to see so many freshmen competing at such a high level, but Mata believes Ali has had a large role in the development of the younger players.
“Ahmed has stepped up as captain of the team and is doing a really good job working with the new freshmen, helping them out when they struggle and giving them feedback after the matches. I believe it is helping a lot.”
junior Sergi Mata
With ample returning skill and impressive emerging talent, Paly is poised for a stellar postseason run.
“I have high expectations, and look forward to achieving a good position at CCS,” Mata said. “State will be hard to make, but Amed and I are looking forward to stepping up and working hard to get ourselves a spot in the state championship.”