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Falcon found higher gear

Crescenta Valley's Jocelyn Chia improved on a stellar freshman debut with impressive sophomore follow-up

January 18, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

Hampered by a left-wrist injury that affected her long game, Jocelyn Chia spent time trying to perfect her short game to compensate.

Feeling a slight soreness most times she hit off a tee or an approach shot during the first half of the season, the Crescenta Valley High sophomore girls' golfer encountered a more calming presence and a lack of pain when it came to making a putt.

While the injury nagged Chia, it proved to be a boon for her as the season progressed.

"It bothered me a little in the beginning of the season, but it definitely helped my short game," Chia said. "I thought my short game was getting better despite having the pain and my scores just got better."

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After the pain subsided in early October, Chia went on to enjoy her second consecutive banner season. She won her first Pacific League individual championship and helped Crescenta Valley finish second in league behind Arcadia. The accomplishments didn't stop there, as she advanced all the way to the CIF Southern Section Individual Final and Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament — the third round of individual play — for the second straight season.

It is because of those accomplishments that Chia has been unanimously chosen the 2011 All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year by the sports writers and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, La Cañada Valley Sun and Pasadena Sun. It marked the second straight season that Chia has earned the honor.

"I'm really excited and happy with the way my season went, but I'm also exhausted," Chia said. "It's because there's been a lack of sleep since the season started by trying to balance golf with academics."

While Chia might have had her share of sleepless nights and focusing on her schoolwork, it didn't seem to have an effect on the links in local and surrounding communities.

Chia often managed to turn in top-notch results, which seemed to spur the Falcons, who climbed from fourth place early in the season to second in league under the guidance of second-year Coach Lee Pope.

Pope said he noticed Chia's significant improvement from the beginning of last season through this season.

"Last year, she came in with the reputation of being a good player and she easily proved that," Pope said. "This year, you could see right at the start that she improved playing in junior tournaments and she was going to be able to knock off a couple of strokes off her game, which she did.

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