Huskies golf programs coming off solid fall seasons
Both men’s and women’s programs at Washington are nationally ranked
Seattle Times staff
It’s a sign of how far the Washington golf programs have come that the men and women finished their fall seasons ranked No. 4 and No. 12 nationally, yet neither was completely satisfied.
For the Washington women, any hangover from the disappointing spring season appears over despite blowing a final-round lead last week at the Pac-12 Preview in Hawaii. The Huskies were the No. 1 team in the country last year heading into the spring season and then didn’t even make the NCAA Championship field.
“Being ranked No. 1 for us was a first and I wish I would have handled it differently,” said UW coach Mary Lou Mulflur. “I would have talked about it as a team. ‘How do you feel about it? What pressure are you feeling?’ ”
The team returned intact, and senior Kelli Bowers is healthy again after being out last spring with a back injury. She played in the U.S. Women’s Open last summer, and junior teammate SooBin Kim finished tied for 30th at an LPGA event in September. Kim is ranked No. 31 in the World Amateur rankings.
The Huskies won the Topy Cup in Japan in September and also had a second and two thirds in four fall events.
“The thing about golf is you learn more when you lose than when you win, and I think we will learn from that the next time we are in that situation,” Mulflur said about losing the lead in the Pac-12 Preview. “Going through that will help them the next time they are in that situation.”
The UW men were first and second in their first two events this fall, before finishing 10th in the United States Collegiate last month in Atlanta against most of the nation’s top teams and fourth last week in the Gifford Collegiate in Los Angeles.
Despite losing Chris Williams, perhaps the greatest player in school history, coach Matt Thurmond said this team can be as good as any he’s had, but he knew it would take time.
“I knew the freshmen we had (Corey Pereira and Kevin Kwon) were really good but I knew they would not be fully ready,” he said. “I think the expectations are still really high and we just have to be patient.”
Leading the team are senior Trevor Simsby, who has recovered from a slump last spring, and junior Cheng-Tsung Pan, who briefly last summer was the top-ranked amateur in the world, joining Williams and Nick Taylor as Huskies who had held that distinction the past five years. Pan is No. 11 now.
“(Pan) is still in a bit of a transition with a swing adjustment and he is at the end of a really long year, having played in a lot of high-pressure events,” Thurmond said. “I expect him to come out real strong this spring and contend to be the top player in college golf.”
• The LPGA Legends will return to Inglewood Golf Club for a third consecutive year in July. The one-day Swing for the Cure tournament will be July 27.
• The 18-hole Sun Country Golf Course outside Cle Elum is up for sale for $4.75 million. The price includes 20 building lots.
• The staff at Seattle’s Jefferson Park moved out of the clubhouse Monday into temporary facilities behind the first tee of the 18-hole course. Demolition of the clubhouse will begin soon. Completion of a new clubhouse is scheduled for December 2014.
• Williams, the former UW star, was given a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, set for Jan. 23-26 at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Williams’ brother Pete is a Farmers Insurance agent in San Diego.
• O.D. Vincent has left his position as senior associate director of athletics at the UW to become executive director of the Northern Trust Open, the Los Angeles stop on the PGA Tour.