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‘It’ll be a great challenge’: UCLA women’s golf heads to Nanea Pac-12 Preview

UCLA women’s golf junior Caroline Canales keeps her eye on the course. (Jesus Ramirez/UCLA Athletics)

By Sabrina Messiha

Feb. 19, 2024 11:53 a.m.

After a rainy weekend unexpectedly shifted its last tournament, the Bruins will travel to the Rainbow State in hopes of warmer weather and drier skies.

No. 6 UCLA women’s golf will take on nine of the 11 Pac-12 teams at the Nanea Pac-12 Preview in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i starting Monday. The three-day event will entail a 54-hole tournament, playing 18 holes each day. Each round, the four lowest scores per team will be considered the scoring members.

In previous years, the Nanea Pac-12 Preview has taken place in November, but it was shifted due to scheduling issues from the Nanea Golf Club. Due to this, only nine Pac-12 teams will be available to compete, compared to the usual 11.

“It was something to do with the golf course, something with a scheduling conflict,” said coach Alicia Um Holmes. “Because of the date change, a few of the teams were unable to make it.”

The Bruins placed fifth out of 12 last year with standout success from two golfers, juniors Zoe Antoinette Campos and Caroline Canales, who placed within the top 10 finishers.

Canales, who tied for fourth last year with a score of 6-under 213, is hoping to use her past experience at the Nanea Golf Club to her advantage.

“Having two tournaments there under my belt is really helpful in terms of knowing the greens and knowing the breaks,” Canales said. “That definitely gives me some confidence heading into this week – that I’ve had some reps out at Nanea.”

The Pac-12 teams that will play in this upcoming tournament include No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 USC and No. 9 Oregon, among others. UCLA faced USC in a match play event at the Therese Hession Regional Challenge only two weeks ago. But after going to a tiebreaker round, the Bruins lost out to the Trojans in the semifinal.

In contrast to their recent rained-out tournament, the weather on the Big Island is expected to be steady and warm.

“We’re coming out of winter weather and Hawai’i weather is pretty stable. We kind of know what to expect from past years playing in November – it shouldn’t play that different,” Um Holmes said. “It’ll just be transitioning from playing in 50-degree weather to 80-degree weather.”

The Nanea Pac-12 Preview allows Pac-12 teams, such as UCLA, to practice playing other competitive players, but also allows them to prepare for the Pac-12 Championships at the end of the season.

“The Pac-12 conference is so strong in our sport. So for us, it’s just another great tournament to play in to get good competition reps,” Um Holmes said. “Because there are so many high-level players, it’ll be a great challenge for our girls to test their skills and see where they’re at.”

The Bruins will tee off at Nanea Golf Club on Monday morning.

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Sabrina Messiha
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