Heading into Sunday five strokes behind the leader and in second place, it’s unlikely that anyone on the UCLA women’s golf team thought they could have their worst round of the weekend and still capture first place.
But that’s exactly what happened.
“I can’t say we improved today, because it was a tough day: We didn’t play very well, the pins were difficult, it was a little bit windier,” said coach Carrie Forsyth. “At the end of the day we made the fewest mistakes of everyone in the field, which is why we won, because some of the teams we played with also struggled a lot.”
The No. 4 Bruins shot 300 (+12) on Sunday, their highest total of the weekend, but still walked away with a victory at the Landfall Tradition hosted by the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
With a three-day team total of 880 (+16), UCLA ended five strokes ahead of No. 13 North Carolina, who finished in second place.
In addition to winning the tournament as a team, sophomore Tiffany Lua won the tournament as an individual when she tied for first place alongside Virginia’s Brittany Altomare.
Lua and Altomore both shot 214 (-2) over the weekend and were the only two players under par for the tournament.
“My goal for the week was to try to play really smart,” Lua said. “I’ve been here before, so I knew this course can get really difficult.
“All week I just tried to place myself in key spots on the putting green where I give myself the best chance for putting opportunities, and then I just tried to trust my putting this week.”
Senior Glory Yang finished in a tie for 11th place with a three-day total of 222 (+6) while junior Stephanie Kono finished in a tie for 15th place with a score of 223 (+7).
Because the Landfall Tradition Golf Course had such difficult pin locations this weekend, golfers from all schools had a tough time scoring.
And when courses are set up to minimize scoring opportunities, being successful can be as much about not having double bogeys as it is about firing birdie after birdie.
“Whenever I had a bad swing or a bad stroke, I try to recover with the next one. I just try to minimize my mistakes, and that was the key for everyone today; that was everyone’s goal,” said Kono. “I just tried to be calm and not have any big numbers.”
Freshman Ani Gulugian was able to tie for 26th place with a score of 226 (+10) despite a quadruple bogey on the par-three second hole on Sunday.
Rounding out the scorecard for the Bruins was junior Brianna Do, who tied for 30th with a weekend total of 227 (+11).
Winning any golf tournament is about finding a way to be the best team on a particular course for that weekend.
By Sunday afternoon, UCLA had found a way to be just that.