BYU women’s golf on track for championship contention

Tommy Higham
The BYU women’s golf team wins their first tournament of the 2015-16 season. They have won three out of their four fall tournaments. (Tommy Higham)

The BYU women’s golf team has one goal in mind: win the NCAA championship.

The team’s early-season success this year makes that goal even more attainable heading into the second half of the season.

The team has won three tournaments this season, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2007–08. It tied the best BYU team score since 2006 for a round of 18 holes with a score of nine-under par at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational. The team has completed its most successful semester ever.

“We have never been a golf powerhouse and definitely that’s what we are going to be now,” sophomore team member Kendra Dalton said.

One of the keys to the Cougars’ success is their ability to place high in each tournament. They have placed at least two players in the top five in three out of four tournaments so far this year. Junior Brooklyn Hocker said their ability to focus on what they can control has allowed them to perform well as a team.

Rose Huang is one of those players who has consistently finished in the top five this season. Huang, a freshman, is proving to be an essential asset to the team. She finished in the top five in three of the Cougars’ four tournaments this year and took first at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Hawaii. Huang said her teammates were so excited for her that they poured a bottle of water on her head to celebrate as there wasn’t a Gatorade cooler available.

“You don’t have to be the senior to push and to motivate and so Rose coming in so well ranked and so ready makes us excited to do good things,” Dalton said.

Carrie Roberts
The BYU women’s golf team took first outright at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Hawaii. Freshman Rose Huang also took first in the tournament. (Carrie Roberts)

If Huang keeps playing at a consistent rate, little stands in the way of the Cougars and their championship drive. She isn’t, however, the only player driving the momentum for the Cougars. Senior Alex White took first at the Ptarmigan Classic, Dalton tied for second at both the Aggie Invitational and the Rose City Collegiate, and Hocker took third behind Huang at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational.

The team now enters its winter break before resuming the 2015–16 season. The Cougars will have to work hard during their “bye months” to practice and stay focused on the team’s championship goals.

Huang said it gets hard to focus during the long break because they start to focus more on their academics. Coach Carrie Roberts uses in-house competitions between players to preserve their competitive mindset. Dalton said their confidence will carry over and they know what they want to do.

The second half of tournament play consists of four tournaments like the fall plus the Conference Championship and the NCAA Championships. The Cougars’ next tournament will be on Feb. 22 at The Gold Rush tournament in Seal Beach, California.

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