Tuesday, February 25

Women’s golf finishes 10th in season-opening tournament, hopeful for improvement

Coach Carrie Forsyth brought in five freshmen prior to UCLA women's golf's 2019 fall slate. Freshman Emma Spitz was the Bruins' top scorer in their first tournament, finishing tied for 32nd. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

The Bruins’ return to the course didn’t go exactly as planned.

UCLA women’s golf came home from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with a 10th place overall finish in the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M. The Bruins shot a 3-over 291 on the first day of the tournament, a 9-over 297 on day two and a 15-over 303 in the final round to finish behind three Pac-12 teams – Arizona State, USC and Arizona.

“We didn’t play well – I don’t feel that we performed up to our abilities as a team,” said coach Carrie Forsyth. “If you go into a field like that and you’re not playing your best golf that week, you’re going to take a pretty good beating.”

Freshman Emma Spitz was UCLA’s top finisher, tying for 32nd in the tournament with a score of 222 – six over par. Spitz started strong, shooting par on day one and 2-over on day two, before dropping 10 spots in the standings when she finished with a 4-over 76 in the last round.

Senior Clare Legaspi and sophomore Mariel Galdiano were the Bruins’ next best scorers, finishing tied for 36th and tied for 39th, respectively. Legaspi emerged from the first round tied for 10th – the best on UCLA – but shot plus-four and plus-three in the subsequent days to score a 223.

Forsyth said having a freshman lead the scoring right off the bat is an indication of the amount of experience this year’s incomers already have.

“Honestly, (Spitz’s finish) didn’t surprise me – I feel like she’s going to be one of our top players the whole year,” Forsyth said. “Sometimes freshmen have more experience than some of our other players who are older. Golf’s different in that sense.”

Sophomore Simar Singh placed 55th with a 20-over 236, and freshman Ty Akabane came in 57th after shooting 22-over par.

Forsyth said the weather conditions in Minnesota contributed to some players’ downfall. A thunderstorm delayed the third round tee off on Wednesday, and even when the conditions were safe to play in, Forsyth said the winds severely impacted the team.

“A lot of our girls have pretty high ball flight, and if you don’t know how to flight the ball low, you’re going to have a hard time playing well in that kind of wind,” Forsyth said. “You can kind of guess the ones who struggled with too-high ball flight because their scores were pretty high.”

UCLA then competed in a qualifying round for next week’s Golfweek Conference Challenge following the conclusion of the ANNIKA Intercollegiate on Wednesday. The players’ performances in the round determined whether Forsyth will slot them in next week’s lineup.

Spitz, Akabane and Galdiano will be returning to the lineup, and the Bruins will add freshmen Annabel Wilson and Emilie Alba Paltrinieri – making four of the five starters first-years.

“We’re going to have a lot of different lineup changes this year,” Forsyth said. “I’m a really big believer that I want the girls to earn their position on their own … That’ll be fun for us to have that type of competition, and then eventually be able to figure out who is our top five.”

The Bruins will be in action again in Colorado on Monday.

Assistant Sports editor

Dzwonczyk is currently an assistant Sports editor for the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball, men's golf and women's golf beats. She was previously a reporter on the women's soccer, beach volleyball and women's tennis beats.

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