If you want a clear finish, that may be a problem. Clear finish looks OK in some cases, but is a huge maintenance headache, if that makes it any better. Most people won’t see the top panel all that well, at least painting that would help. Either paint or bright, I would be inclined to bog it with epoxy and wood flour: you wet coat the bad areas but let it sink in, then bog it, and immediately glass it. All one step so that you don’t have to sand or anything. if you have only one area that is damaged, this is pretty easy. Takes an experienced hand if the blotches are everywhere and you end up having to do a wet layup, or a combo wet dry layup.If on another occasion you find short grain like this in a panel, pre-finish it with epoxy, or glass, that way it won’t lift up when you torture. If this was a kit panel it should have been replaced.
Another option with clear is to bog the rough patches with epoxy thickened with cab, that will allow you to fill with a material that is somewhat transparent, without building up the highs as well as the lows. But a cab bog is really hard to sand.