PIL 6A rivals should continue links battle

Prep Focus: Lincoln's Avery Sills, Grant's Michelle Chu both have league titles
by: L.E. Baskow, She’s not the longest hitter in the league, but Grant junior Michelle Chu (right) is one of the best golfers – she won the PIL crown as a freshman and placed second last year.

A couple of weeks ago, Lincoln sophomore Avery Sills and Grant junior Michelle Chu played a friendly weekend round of golf together.

Over the next six weeks, they'll probably meet up four more times -competitively, with PIL 6A team and individual titles on the line.

Chu won the PIL individual crown as a freshman. Last year, Sills came along and took first, with Chu second. Lincoln beat Grant for the team title both years.

The Cardinals and Generals should lead the way again, in one order or another, with Sills and Chu probably ahead of Wilson's Lizzie Martin and other individual contenders.

'Michelle's game has definitely improved,' Sills says. 'And I feel more comfortable. I've dropped a couple of strokes.'

'I think Avery is still a little better than me,' Chu says. 'If I have a good day, maybe I can get her.'

Both players have had success on the Oregon Golf Association circuit. Sills won the Southern Oregon Junior last year in the girls 15-17 division. In 2005, in the 12-14 division, she won four events. Chu captured five 15-17 tournaments last year.

Both started young - Sills at age 8, Chu at 7.

'Some days your game is off, but the good days keep you coming back,' Sills says, 'and all the hard work pays off.'

'I just like the game and being outdoors,' Chu says. 'And I meet so many nice people playing golf.'

Sills plays at the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha and is coached by Conan Elliott.

Chu plays closer to home, at Rose City Golf Course, and says the people there are her golfing family.

'I've never had a coach, never had a lesson,' she says.

She's learned a lot, though, from her sister May-Lynn, a junior on the golf team at Concordia University who won the PIL title while at Grant in 2004.

Sills, who stands 5-8, says she hits her driver 230 to 240 yards and her 5-iron about 160.

Chu, 4-11, says she drives 200 to 210 yards and gets about 140 yards from her 5-iron. One of the pros she admires is John Daly, and she takes a long backswing like him. 'Some people say my swing looks funny, and it's kind of choppy, but I just do my thing,' she says.

Grant's young team consists of four juniors and four sophomores, 'but we have a very good chance of competing with Lincoln,' Chu says. 'The team has really bonded.'

The Cardinals graduated four seniors, but Lincoln still has Sills and juniors Sara Stride and Alex Sakai from a squad that placed fourth in state.

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