Tuesday, May 22

Women’s golf to face top-ranked ASU

This week, the No. 2 UCLA women’s golf team will travel to Tempe, Ariz., to play in the PING/ASU Invitational at the Karsten Golf Course and take on a loaded field.

No. 1 Arizona State, No. 3 USC, No. 5 Oklahoma State and No. 6 Purdue will all be there to greet them.

“It’s going to be a good challenge, especially ASU is our number one competitor, and we’re playing at ASU’s home court,” freshmen Stephanie Kono said.

UCLA and Arizona State have been competing neck and neck  in events this season, with the Bruins holding a slight edge over the Sun Devils in tournament victories.

“(Arizona State) will feel comfortable out on the course, but I know our team can go out on any course and shoot well and beat any team, even if we’ve never seen the course,” Kono said. “We just have to have a good practice round, focus and map out the course, and we should be just fine.”

This tournament will be the Bruins’ final regular season event before the postseason. With a win this week, the team could match the school record of tournament victories set in their national championship season in 2004. So far, UCLA has won six events in seven starts.

“We’ve been playing well in the spring, so hopefully we’ll keep that momentum going to win this next one and go into the postseason very confident,” Kono said.

Coach Carrie Forsyth credits the Bruins’ improved short game and putting as causes for their recent success.

“It really comes down to putting for any player,” Kono said. “No matter how well you’re hitting the ball, if you don’t make the putts you’re not going to perform as well as you’d like to.”

Kono, who earned GolfWorld Player of the Week honors, has been behind the Bruins’ recent accomplishments. The freshman from Honolulu led the school to sweep both the team and individual championships at the UCF Challenge. She also won medalist honors at the Collegiate Matchplay Championships in November.

“She’s a very well-rounded player,” Forsyth said. “She’s in a really good place right now with her game. She doesn’t have any real weaknesses.”

The UCLA lineup features Kono, sophomore Glory Yang, senior Ryann O’Toole, sophomore Maria Jose Uribe, and junior Sydnee Michales. The Bruins will be playing without senior All-American Tiffany Joh, who received sponsor exemption to play at the LPGA’s Kraft Nabisco Championship on the dates of the PING/ASU Invitational.

The Karsten Golf Course will also be the site of the NCAA Regional Tournament. Should UCLA stay in the Western Region, the Bruins will return to the par-72, 6,230-yard Arizona golf course in the postseason.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.