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Women’s golf says goodbye to All-American player as season comes to an end

Sophomore Patty Tavatanakit was an All-American for her second straight season with UCLA women’s golf. Tavatanakit will forgo her final two years of collegiate golf to join the LPGA Tour this summer. (Courtesy of John McGillen)

By Sam Connon

May 29, 2019 12:58 a.m.

As the Bruins’ season comes to a close, so too does the collegiate career of their young All-American.

UCLA women’s golf failed to advance past stroke play of the NCAA championship in Fayetteville, Arkansas, last week after finishing 20th with a 65-over 941. The day after the Bruins’ championship aspirations were stopped dead in their tracks, sophomore Patty Tavatanakit announced on Instagram that she would be turning pro.

Tavatanakit followed up her All-American freshman season – in which she won four tournaments – with another nationally-praised campaign. She was named a First Team All-American by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association on May 21 and is on the watch list for the ANNIKA and PING WGCA national player of the year awards after two more victories this school year.

The sophomore will join her former teammate, Lilia Vu, on the LPGA Tour.

Both Tavatanakit and Vu took time off from team competition in the fall to get their LPGA Tour cards. Vu qualified and left the team for good in November.

Vu was the Pac-12 Women’s Golfer of the Year in 2018, and UCLA notched an eighth-place finish in her absence. With Tavatanakit gone in the fall, the Bruins garnered a ninth-place finish.

In their first tournament with Tavatanakit back on the links, the Bruins finished in second. However, they would post just one top-three team finish from February to April.

A third-place finish and an individual victory for Tavatanakit at the NCAA East Lansing regional seemed to turn the tides for UCLA, but it finished 23 strokes off the cut at the NCAA stroke play championship.

The Bruins will now have just three players left from their 2017-2018 team that lost in the NCAA quarterfinals. But while that team graduated three Bruins, Beth Wu was the lone senior on the roster this spring.

Wu was UCLA’s second-highest finisher at the NCAAs, tying for 73rd with a 16-over 235. The Diamond Bar, California, native did not record a victory in her first three seasons with the program, but clinched a lone title at the PING/ASU Invitational on March 31.

The returning Bruins – junior Mariel Galdiano, junior Clare Legaspi, sophomore Vera Markevich and freshman Phoebe Yue – have combined for one career collegiate victory.

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Sam Connon | Sports senior staff
Connon is currently a Sports senior staff writer for the football and men's basketball beats. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats from 2018-2019 and a reporter on the baseball and women's basketball beats from 2017-2018. Connon also contributes movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment and co-hosts Daily Bruin Sports' weekly podcast, "Out of Bounds." Connon is a rising fourth-year Communication student from Winchester, Massachusetts.
Connon is currently a Sports senior staff writer for the football and men's basketball beats. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats from 2018-2019 and a reporter on the baseball and women's basketball beats from 2017-2018. Connon also contributes movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment and co-hosts Daily Bruin Sports' weekly podcast, "Out of Bounds." Connon is a rising fourth-year Communication student from Winchester, Massachusetts.
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