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UCLA women’s golf tees up for final Pac-12 Championship showdown

Sophomore Meghan Royal prepares to strike the ball. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

By Sabrina Baker

April 20, 2024 5:48 p.m.

When Coach Alicia Um Holmes played for UCLA, it was in the Pac-10.

Five years into her assistant coaching career, the Pac-10 became the Pac-12.

Now, one year into her head coaching tenure, the Pac-12 is in its last leg.

No. 4 UCLA women’s golf will have the chance to win one last Pac-12 Championship at the Palouse Ridge Golf Course in Pullman, Washington, from April 21 to April 23. The last time the Bruins won was in 2018 when Um Holmes was in her 12th year as the assistant coach.

Um Holmes said this final tournament is extra special.

“We’ve been in the Pac-12 for many years, and we’ve built good friendships amongst the different teams and coaches,” Um Holmes said. “It’s very sad to think that this is the last Pac-12 Championship, especially in our sport. The Pac-12, in our sport, has been very strong. A lot of the national champions throughout the years have come from our conference.”

This year, six of the 11 Pac-12 women’s golf teams are ranked in the top 25: No. 1 Stanford, UCLA, No. 9 USC, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 Arizona and No. 16 Oregon.

Sophomore Meghan Royal said she appreciates the depth of the conference competition.

“It pushes us to be at the higher level,” Royal said. “It’s going to be a dogfight.”

The Bruins’ lineup will consist of Royal, juniors Zoe Antoinette Campos, Natalie Vo and Caroline Canales and senior Kate Villegas. Redshirt junior Alessia Nobilio will travel with the team as an alternate.

Um Holmes said it was difficult to decide the roster.

“This was the first time all year that we picked our lineup,” Um Holmes said. “Prior to this, we always held qualifiers, or the girls earned exemptions through their play at tournaments. It was very tough, and, of course, three girls were disappointed to not make it in the top five.”

Campos and Canales are the only two in the lineup to have experience playing in the Pac-12 Championship for the Bruins. Vo previously competed in the tournament when she was at Colorado.

Canales said the team emphasized camaraderie over competition.

“We’re a team that’s supporting each other,” Canales said. “I’m not going to try to like boss anyone else around. I think we are all focusing on our own game.”

The Bruins will kick off their final Pac-12 campaign on Sunday.

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Sabrina Baker | Sports contributor
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
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