Women’s Golf Tees Up for WAC Tournament

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Women’s Golf Tees Up for WAC Tournament

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

Nicole Golba, Sports and Opinion Editor

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The Seattle University Women’s Golf team started their morning early on Thursday, April 18. 8:00 a.m. signaled the beginning of the 2019 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Golf Tournament, where the Redhawks hosted the event at local Oakbrook Golf Club in Lakewood, Washington. The team was predicted to come out third behind only New Mexico State and Grand Canyon University.

The competitive roster of golfers, finalized on Wednesday before the tournament, consisted of five Redhawks. The team, as Sophomore Kimberlee Tottori noted, is a young but talented group.

“With five sophomores, our team is still young and shows so much potential for the years ahead,” Tottori said.

The team was led by Tottori, who acquired an average of +4.08 over 24 rounds throughout the year. Junior Krystal Hu, with a score of +4.46 over 24 rounds, showcased her talent at the Red Rocks Invitational during her first year as a Redhawk.

Sophomores Vendela From and Keisha Lugito have also had successful seasons thus far, with respective scores of +7.14 and +5.91 heading into the tournament. Rounding out the field was Senior Yen Tin Wong, with an adjusted score of +6.61 going into her last tournament.

The Redhawks started the tournament out strong. From, leading the team, sat in a tie for first place after just one round. As a whole, the team collectively sat in second place—only three strokes behind first-place Utah Valley.

Highlights from day one include From reaching a low score of four under par, with teammates Tottori and Hu following close behind.

Going into day two, the Redhawks battled their way into first place overall. After two rounds and a total of 18 strokes on par, the group was led by From, who maintained her first-place tie. Lugito also fared well, shooting a 73 for a 10-over total.

As the last day of the 2019 WAC Golf Tournament neared, the Redhawks hoped to hang on to their lead. The winning team receives an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Tournament field, which is no small feat. Going into the final day in first place, the pressure was on, as Lugito noted.

“It sure was pretty nerve wracking since we were second the first day and then leading the second day,” Lugito said.

The course itself also proved challenging, as teammate Tottori said.

“The course had some difficult pins and there was stiff competition,” Tottori said.

Despite the difficulties and pressures faced, the Redhawks remained resilient.

“All days, the team environment was very positive,” Lugito added.

After another three rounds, the team ended in a tie for first place with WAC opponent New Mexico State. Both teams finished at 33 strokes over par, meaning a tiebreaker playoff ensued.

Tottori and From led the pack yet again, both ending in a tie for fourth place and scores of six-over 219. Hu and Wong displayed consistent play across all three days of competition, with Hu finishing in another tie at 12th place. Lugito, coming back strong from a tough first round, bounced back and brought her total to 13-over 226.

Unfortunately, the strong performances put out by the Redhawks was not enough to take the WAC Tournament victory. The four best scores on each hole were totaled, and although close, New Mexico State ultimately took the overall victory and the bid to the NCAA Women’s Golf Tournament.

The initial disappointment of a hard-fought battle ending in loss only served as encouragement for the team. Tottori remained positive, especially since the team is largely composed of underclassmen.

“The WAC Conference Tournament demonstrated that our team has the ability to succeed and that we are continually improving,” Tottori said. “I look forward to competing next year and representing Seattle U along with my teammates.”

Despite the heartbreaking result, the team of golfers accomplished what no team has done before. With the highest-ever team finish in Seattle U history and an undeniably talented group of golfers, the future looks bright and more records look to be overcome.

Lugito and teammates left the course hopeful, as each year has shown massive improvement for the Redhawks.

“Each year, we’re getting closer and closer to the sweet taste of victory. Next year, it’s gonna be the one.”

Head Coach Marc Chandonnet, regardless of the outcome, is also proud of the young team.

“Setbacks are part of life and I am confident this group will bounce back stronger than before. We will be a force to reckon with in the coming years, especially if they use this as a motivator to work even harder,” Chandonnet said in an emailed statement.

And although the team will hang their clubs for some time, Chandonnet proudly stated, “We have nothing to hang our heads about.”

Nicole may be reached at
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