Kendra Dalton was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year after leading the BYU women’s golf team to three tournament wins, the WCC Championship title and a second-consecutive berth to the NCAA Regionals.
“This season went well,” Dalton said. “Winning my first college tournament was great and gave me a lot of confidence. I am working on my distance control and short game a lot. That is where I want to see improvement.”
Dalton received first place individually in the Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational on Sept. 20 by shooting 212 (-4). She shot a consistent 70, 71 and 71 in the three rounds to win the tournament and led the Cougars to a first-place team finish.
“Winning tournaments is my goal, and to get my first collegiate win felt incredible,” Dalton said. “Having your hard work pay off feels awesome and it definitely made me hungry for more.”
Both head coach Carrie Roberts and Dalton recognize how much the junior has improved since joining the team three years ago. Dalton is grateful for her opportunity to learn from the head coach and be a part of the team culture.
“Coach Roberts has helped me tremendously to get from where I started to where I am now,” Dalton said. “She has such an understanding and passion for the game that has helped me to learn and really enjoy getting better. The culture that she has created on our team is special and I am so grateful to be a part of it.”
Dalton came to BYU in 2014 as a walk-on. She believed she had the skills to be a successful collegiate golfer as a four-year letter winner at Heritage High School in North Carolina, but it took time to elevate her game.
“My freshman year and where I was as a golfer seems so long ago,” Dalton said. “Starting as a walk-on I had so much to learn and I have come such a long way. Of course my mechanics and technique have improved, but the way I think through a golf round and manage myself mentally is probably where I have improved the most.”
Dalton’s best finish as a freshman was a tie for fourth at five-under par in the Mountain View Collegiate tournament. She finished off the year shooting a 237 (+21) in the West Coast Conference Championships.
As a sophomore in 2015-2016, Dalton finished in second place at the Rose City Collegiate tournament in Portland, Oregon. Dalton also finished the Aggie Invitational in a tie for second place in the same season. She shot a 213 (-3) and a 214 (-2), respectively.
This season, Dalton added three runner-up showings and six top-10 finishes to her win at the Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational. At the WCC Championship, she placed second individually, just one stroke behind teammate Alexandra White.
She also helped the Cougars dominate the Gonzaga Match Play in October.
While Dalton credited Roberts with helping her achieve her goals, Roberts said it was all Dalton.
“Kendra and I have a very good relationship that’s built on trust and honesty,” Roberts said. “Kendra has done all the work. I’ve simply guided her to where she needs to improve, and then she does all the work. She’s very coachable and a lot of fun to work with because of how hard she works and how quickly she is able to catch on to different skills.”
Roberts said she expects Dalton to continue to improve and lead the team.
“She’s improved more from year to year than anyone I have coached,” Roberts said. “She went from a walk-on to an individual champion in just a couple of years. That shows just how hard she works and how well she improves each year. It’s quite impressive how she works and improves.”
The Cougars will now head to Lubbock, Texas for the NCAA Regionals that begin on Thursday, May 4.