When school begins again in August, kids will be milling about Amador Valley High talking about what they did during their summer break.
For Jaclyn LaHa, an incoming junior and star golfer for the Dons, she can add one twist to her summer story none of her classmates can boast of -- playing in the U.S. Women's Open.
The tournament, which was staged June 3-6 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, gave LaHa an experience no other current Amador students can claim.
"Yeah, the U.S. Women's Open is such a big deal," LaHa said with a laugh like a 16-year-old would have, realizing how cool an accomplishment it is playing in the Open. "After I qualified, I texted my Amador coach and he asked me how I did. When I told him I made it into the Open, I think he texted all my teachers. I started getting texts from them as well."
LaHa earned her spot in the national tournament by virtue of her second-place finish in a qualifier at the Marin Country Club. She shot a 36-hole score of 137, one shot back of the low score from Rachel Heck of Stanford University who had recently won the NCAA Women's Championship.
It was a brutally long day from a physical and emotional standpoint. The golfers play 36 holes with the qualifiers for both the men's and women's U.S. Opens, known as "The longest day of golf."
At the qualifier, LaHa was in the second group to finish in the afternoon and knew she had a great score -- but there were a lot of players left on the course.
"I was kind of in a state of shock," LaHa said of posting the score early and seeing where it put her. "It was stressful because I had no idea how (the others) were playing as a lot of the scores were not being updated."
Once it was official, LaHa and her father Mike, who was her caddie, jumped back in the car and headed home. That is when it began to sink in -- she was in the U.S. Women's Open.
"When we were driving home, I was FaceTiming with my mom and sister talking about it," LaHa explained. "Then where I got home, I think it hit me."
LaHa had not played the Olympic Club before, but through a coach was able to connect with a member and was able to get out on the Lake Course and start learning the greens.
Once the Open week rolled around, LaHa managed to get out in a practice round with Ariya Jutanugarn (who would finish 7th in the Open) and Minjee Lee, another top professional.
"I just watched their games and how they were preparing for the tournament," she said. "They were really nice in talking with me."
Then came Thursday and the first round.
"I had never had anything like that before," LaHa said. "There are cameras all around you. Once I got through the first hole, I was fine."
LaHa shot rounds of 77-76 to finish at 153 for the first two days, 11-over-par, but just five shots off making the cut. She finished with the same score as well-known women professional golfers like Nelly Korda and Charley Hull, and ahead of Michelle Wie West.
"I thought I played pretty good," LaHa said. "I was happy with the way I played for my first Open."
Now LaHa is back to competing in junior events. The family is back in Virginia as LaHa is playing in the American Junior Golf Association's Rolex Girls Junior Championship, a big invitational event.
"I was talking with my dad about 'here we go back to junior golf,'" said LaHa, who is the No. 24-ranked AJGA golfer in the nation. "This is exciting because it's the first time we are able to start talking with college coaches."
Make sure to check back in this space next week to see how LaHa fared in Virginia.
Tennis tournament raises money for animals
The annual Service Champions Doubles Classic tennis tournament played at Ruby Hill, Castlewood and Livermore tennis clubs was a "smashing" success, with the title sponsor raising $39,000 for the Valley Humane Society, as well other organizations like Hopalong Shelter, Stonecliffe Animal rescue, and Friends of Contra Costa Animal Shelter.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his "Pleasanton Preps" column, email [email protected]