Two out of three isn’t bad.
The UCLA women’s golf team has won the Mason Rudolph Invitational two of the last three years and will look to make it three of the last four when it heads to Nashville, Tenn., this weekend.
Hosted by Vanderbilt, the Mason Rudolph Invitational will be played at the Legends Club, a course where No. 2 UCLA has finished no worse than fourth place since 2003.
“A lot of my older players (have) played here a couple times, and we’ve had a lot of success here,” coach Carrie Forsyth said.
“It’s just a good course for us. … We feel pretty good about it.”
Traveling to Nashville for the Bruins are juniors Stephanie Kono and Brianna Do, redshirt sophomore Lee Lopez, sophomore Tiffany Lua and freshman Ani Gulugian.
The lineup remains the same as it did during last week’s seventh-place finish at the NCAA Fall Preview, except for the addition of Do, who will be making her first start this season.
Within UCLA’s lineup is a trio of players who have enjoyed success at the Mason Rudolph Invitational in recent years.
Kono has played in the tournament twice and has a pair of top-20 finishes under her belt, while Do and Lua each played in the tournament last year and finished 20th and 49th, respectively.
But in order to win, the Bruins must play well as a team and will need to rely on everyone in their lineup to contribute.
“It will be curious to see how Lee Lopez does on this golf course,” Forsyth said. “I think our freshman Ani (Gulugian) will have a good event, but I think they’re all going to play well.”
Last weekend, both Lopez and Gulugian made their UCLA debuts.
Gulugian improved every round and ended with a third-day score of 70 (-2) that was 10 strokes less than her first-day score of 80 (+8).
A redshirt transfer from Long Beach State, Lopez got back into the swing of things and fired off a team best 67 (-5) in her first round competing for UCLA.
“I think, speaking for all of us on the team, we’re just really excited to get the year going,” Lopez said. “And obviously for myself I took a year to redshirt, so last week was really nice to play again.”
Part of the reason the Bruins will need contributions from every player will be the level of competition they are facing.
Competing alongside UCLA this weekend will be some of the best teams in the country, including No. 1 Purdue, No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 Arizona, among others.
The tournament will use the five-count-four format in which a team has five players compete and drops the lowest score each day.
With a high ranking and a history of success at this tournament, UCLA is expected to do well this weekend.
“Our team is trying really hard not to focus on the expectations and do our best,” Lopez said. “I guess that’s all I can hope for and keep working hard so we keep playing well as a team and just keep getting better.”