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UCLA women’s golf looks to continue its upward swing in NCAA regionals

Junior Emilie Paltrinieri and No. 12 UCLA women’s golf will compete at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional beginning Monday. Paltrinieri is one of two returners from the Bruins’ starting lineup in the NCAA regionals a season ago. (Daily Bruin file photo)

WOMEN’S GOLF

NCAA Tallahassee Regional

Monday to Wednesday

Tallahassee, Florida

By Austin Tran

May 8, 2022 12:13 p.m.

After a momentous month in April, the Bruins will continue their pursuit of a national title.

No. 12 UCLA women’s golf will be competing at the NCAA regionals in Tallahassee, Florida on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Ranked as the No. 2 seed in the region, the Bruins will be vying for a spot in the NCAA championships, needing a top-four finish to advance.

The month of April brought UCLA’s first team win in almost four years, an individual winner and numerous individual top-10 finishes.

The Bruins have been securing top finishes as of late despite dealing with inclement weather at each of their previous two events, with rain at both the Chambers Bay Invitational and the Pac-12 championships. This time around, however, UCLA will have to deal with the Florida heat when it tees it up Monday.

UCLA’s lineup to start the NCAA regionals will have mostly new faces, with only juniors Emma Spitz and Emilie Paltrinieri returning from last year’s postseason lineup.

Paltrinieri has finished in the top 10 in three of her last four events. She said she can attribute her recent success to adjustments finally coming to fruition.

“Starting last year, I talked to coach (and) she saw that the right thing for me to do is to start making some more technical changes in my swing,” Paltrinieri said. “This ongoing process is finally being beneficial and is finally showing in my results.”

The other returning Bruin to the lineup, Spitz, won individually last year at the NCAA regionals, carding an 8-under 208, good for a five-stroke victory.

Three weeks ago, Spitz claimed her first individual win of the campaign, taking first place at the Chambers Bay Invitational. Spitz said she has been playing well in the spring because she has tailored her game to what she is best at.

“I’ve been working a lot on my short game,” Spitz said. “In the fall, I wasn’t really playing to my strengths. I know that I’m not the longest hitter but I know I can hit long irons … and I can still hit it close enough. Knowing that and playing my own game helped me.”

Redshirt freshman Alessia Nobilio, redshirt sophomore Ty Akabane, freshman Caroline Canales and freshman Zoe Antoinette Campos will be making their NCAA regionals debuts.

“For the majority of our team, this is their first time in the postseason,” Coach Carrie Forsyth said. “Some of them should’ve been here last year but they weren’t because of the COVID situation.”

Even though most of the lineup does not have much NCAA postseason experience, confidence is high in the lineup, according to Forsyth. Nobilio is coming off of a third-place finish – her fourth top-five placement of the season, while Campos shot 6-under-par in the U.S. Women’s Open qualifier on April 26, almost qualifying for the tournament.

“It’s been really great to see that some of our players are really starting to play some of their best golf right now,” Forsyth said, “More and more of our players are starting to see themselves as players that could potentially win as an individual.”

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Austin Tran | Sports reporter
Tran is currently a Sports reporter on the men's and women's golf beats.
Tran is currently a Sports reporter on the men's and women's golf beats.
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