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  • Briana Mao

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Making the Rounds: Former St. Francis star scores first collegiate win

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 - 8:14 am

Catching up with some of the area's best golfers, starting with those in college:

• A win at any level is tough to come by, it doesn't matter if it's in your weekly club game.

In college, where almost everybody is an aspiring professional, the competition is ruthless.

Last week, Virginia sophomore Briana Mao of Folsom earned her first college victory. Tuesday, Sacramento State senior Ryan Williams narrowly missed his.

Mao was the medalist at the 18-team Central Florida Challenge. See a video interview with the St. Francis High School graduate at

Williams lost to a birdie in a three-man playoff in the Folino Invitational in City of Industry. The Hornets' team leader started the final round with a two-shot lead but began with bogey, double bogey.

He rebounded to play even over the final 16 holes, and his tie for second was his best ever. So the next time you see Williams manning the counter at Campus Commons between playing, practicing or studying, give him a fist bump.

• Sac State sophomore Sagee Palavivatana (North Highlands) finished fifth in the women's Folino Invitational.

• Fourth-ranked New Mexico, led by senior John Catlin (Carmichael), will shoot for its second straight tournament win starting today in Hawaii. Catlin's best finish in six starts this season is third.

• SMU freshman Austin Smotherman (Loomis) tied for 12th over the weekend in the 15-team Puerto Rico Classic. The 20th-ranked Mustangs finished third.

• UC Davis senior Demi Runas, last season's Big West Conference Player of the Year, is ranked 12th among collegiate women. The Aggies are ranked 15th.

The pro report

Bob Niger (El Dorado Hills), an aspiring Champions Tour player since turning 50 in 2010, will again pursue entry into tournaments via weekly qualifiers. Niger, in the midst of revamping his swing under the tutelage of stack-and-tilt method proponent Andy Plummer, earned $15,901 last year in seven senior events.

Christina Stockton (Rocklin), fourth in the Golf Channel's "Big Break Atlantis" reality show, is planning a full year of competition. Now living in Los Angeles, she will play the Cactus and Canadian tours before the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.

Lisa Ferrero (Lodi) is back on the LPGA's Symetra Tour after finishing 123rd on last year's LPGA money list.

The junior scene

• Area players dominated the leaderboards at the Future Collegians World Tour event over the weekend in Santa Barbara. Corey Pereira (El Dorado Hills), the nation's 14th-ranked junior, won the boys 16-19 division, beating Corey Eddings (Roseville) by three shots. John Burke (Sacramento) tied for fourth, Matthew Sterling (Galt) was seventh and Brandon Baumgarten (Granite Bay) was eighth. Quinn Carlsen (El Dorado Hills) won the boys 13-15 division and Emily Laskin (Elk Grove) won the girls 13-18 division.

Cameron Champ (Sacramento), the nation's seventh-ranked junior, tied for seventh in an American Junior Golf Association event in Texas.

Et cetera

• CordeValle, home to the PGA Tour's Open, is certain to be awarded the U.S. Women's Open in 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Kristen Red-Horse, a prominent name and face in a national First Tee television advertising campaign, is back in town helping her local chapter. Red-Horse, who grew up in Sacramento and lives in New York, will meet with a group of The First Tee of Greater Sacramento kids Thursday at Land Park before kicking off TFTGS' second annual "Friends Together" fundraising campaign later that night.

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Read more articles by Steve Pajak

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