Tuesday, October 15

A few too many over par


COLUMBUS, Ohio “”mdash; With thunderstorms still hundreds of
miles to the west, the trees as still as the ponds they towered
over and the temperature still tolerable, the Scarlet Golf Course
on the Ohio State University campus was ripe for the taking
Wednesday morning.

One problem: UCLA didn’t.

Before Wednesday’s second round of the NCAA Championships,
UCLA women’s golf coach Carrie Forsyth acknowledged that her
team probably wouldn’t have a realistic chance at winning the
national title if it repeated its first-round performance.

One problem: The Bruins played worse … much worse.

So as the problems mount and as the solutions remain elusive,
UCLA’s defense of its No. 2 ranking and legitimate claim to
capture the school’s 100th national title withered much
further away Wednesday.

As the Bruins huddled beside the 18th green after their
collective 18-over-par second round, leaving them at 31-over par at
the tournament’s halfway point, they gloomily gazed at the
slow-moving electronic scoreboard to see just how far they had
fallen.

They had to wait longer than they expected for the answer: a
whopping 10 teams and 21 shots behind frontrunner Arizona
State.

It’s a position that’s largely unfathomable to most
of the Bruins and even had the smallish-sized gallery asking what
was wrong with UCLA.

“We’ve made a huge mess in two days,” freshman
Tiffany Joh said. “I hope it only takes two days to get out
of it.”

That may not be enough time.

Of the 10 teams that separate UCLA and the top of the
leaderboard, seven are ranked in the top-10 in the nation.

And if the Bruins are to somehow crawl back into contention
during “moving day” on Thursday, they confessed they
needed several players to go under par.

At the Scarlet Course, however, where birdies come at a premium,
walking away with a low number has proven to be rather
difficult.

UCLA carded only one birdie in its first 45 collective holes
Wednesday and have only posted two rounds less than 76 ““
Joh’s 71 on Tuesday and sophomore Amie Cochran’s 71 on
Wednesday.

“It doesn’t look difficult, but the second you
disrespect this course, it bites you,” said Cochran, who is
tied with Joh as UCLA’s highest individual on the leaderboard
in 22nd place at 5-over par. “We can’t afford to play
desperately, but that’s tough because it’s hard not to
be desperate when you look at the scoreboard and see where we
are.”

“Good for Tiffany (on Tuesday) and good for Amie (on
Wednesday), but we’re not going to win if we only have one
person scoring well,” Forsyth said.

That formula worked against the Bruins on Wednesday, as four of
the five players posted rounds of 78 (6-over par) or over, their
feelings of frustration seemingly contagious.

On the par-5 12th, senior Susie Mathews’ par putt lipped
out for a disappointing bogey.

In front of Mathews was freshman Jane Park, who tossed her
putter in disgust after three-putting the par-4 16th.

Later on that same hole after a perfect drive, junior Hannah Jun
hooked her approach shot out of bounds onto Kenny Road, the street
that runs alongside the golf course.

After dropping the ball in the same spot, Jun hit her second
approach stiff but tapped in for a bogey, not a birdie.

It all contributed to a day in which smiles were sparse, faces
were long, and Forsyth found it necessary to talk to her players at
length to keep their heads in the round.

“We need to lighten up a bit,” Forsyth said.
“I don’t know if we need to go together to have some
ice cream or what, but something.”

Yet as the Bruins were finishing their round on the front nine
(UCLA teed off on the 10th) amid perfect conditions, tornado
warnings began to blare throughout the area.

It could have served as a wake-up call for UCLA or as a warning
of the inclement weather predicted for today’s third round
““ and maybe both.

If the wind does pick up and the rain does start to come down,
it will have one supporter toting a UCLA golf bag.

“Bring it on,” Cochran said. “I’m
rooting for bad weather.”

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