It came down to little players with big golf games in the Central Section Individual Championship on a marvelous Monday at Sunnyside Country Club.
Alanna Loyd, a 5-foot-4, 98-pound junior from Clovis North High, parred the 18th hole for a 2-under 71 then walked to the putting green adjacent to the clubhouse and yanked a putter out of a bag seemingly bigger than herself.
"I was told there could be a playoff."
She could only watch the threesome behind her as Madchen Ly, a 5-foot senior from Clovis also standing at 2 under, chipped over a bunker and within 4 feet at No. 18.
"I put the putter away because I've known Madchen for awhile, she's a really good putter, and I was confident she was going to make it."
Ly did just that, draining the slightly uphill birdie putt that rolled directly through her shadow with the sun at her back for a 3-under 70 and what's believed to be the first back-to-back titles in the 15-year history of the event.
"My putter saved me," said the Fresno State-bound Ly, who blistered the back nine with five birdies and a 32.
And to think her day began with a double bogey on the par-4 No. 1.
"You have to get rid of the bad shots and keep going forward," said the athlete who last played basketball in sixth grade.
"That's when we found out 5 feet tall isn't for basketball," said her father, Pheng Ly, who didn't have the nerve to watch her every putt, including a 30-foot birdie on the par-4 No. 14.
That followed a double-bogey on the same hole by Loyd, who led the 45-player field at the turn with a 35. But she responded with a birdie on the par-5 No. 15 and the race was on.
Ly gave herself a chance with a birdie 2 on the 128-yard No. 17. But she had no idea about Loyd's score or any other. "Not a clue."
Redwood's Christina Trujillo, Clovis East's Andrea Mersino and Frontier's Jordanne Barr each shot 75 and were among 12 players who qualified for the Southern California Regional Championship on Nov. 10 at The Golf Club in Murrieta.
They will be joined by Clovis East junior Hannah Sodersten, who bogeyed three of her first five holes on the back and finished with a 3-over 76 -- the first above-par round of the season for last year's section runner-up.
Also going to the SoCal Regional will be the complete teams from Frontier and Clovis West; they finished 1-2 in the section team finals last week in Visalia.