Over the course of the season, the UCLA women’s golf team has been left shorthanded, which, according to coach Carrie Forsyth, caused the team to feel more pressure to make up for the missing teammate.
As a whole, the team is there to support each other, so every missing piece shakes their confidence – at least sophomore Erynne Lee thinks so.
The team managed fairly well considering it competed shorthanded for all of fall season, ending with a few eighth-place finishes. Now that senior Tiffany Lua is back, the team seems to be gaining the confidence it had coming into fall season.
“Losing her in the fall was very detrimental to the team. We had a lot of internal issues, but now that we’ve got a full team, we are back in full force,” Lee said.
Last week marked the end of Lua’s five-month hiatus because of a wrist injury and the difference was apparent as the team won the title in the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge, defeating No. 1 USC in the process.
“I’m in the state of mind where I’m just happy to be playing again. I was out for about five months and I never really realized how much I’d miss the sport,” Lua said.
The team came into the season ranked No. 2, but dropped to No. 38 by the end of fall. Now Forsyth wants the team to focus on playing better and playing as a full team, regardless of the rankings.
“We have a lot of really strong tournaments coming up and we just have to get out there and play well, and beat these teams that are in front of us,” Forsyth said.
With only four competitions left before the Pac-12 championships, the team has a short amount of time to get back into the swing of competing with a full team.
This weekend, the No. 22 Bruins will travel to New Orleans to compete in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship which will feature a series of teams ranked in the top 20.
“I’ve always approached rankings as they are what they are. They don’t really change how I do and how I play,” Lua said. “We know where we are and we know we’re much better than that. We’re coming back into spring season really strong and ready to play.”