PLNU Women’s Golf Team Begins Fall 2023 Season

The 2023 PLNU Women's Golf Team. Photo by courtesy PLNU Athletics.

The fall season is officially underway for Point Loma Nazarene University’s women’s golf team. The team has competed in two tournaments so far this season, boasting a tie for third place in the first one.

The fall season is essentially preseason for the team. It allows the team to work out the kinks and prepare for the spring season. 

The first tournament had the team traveling to Arizona to compete at the RJGA Shootout at Estrella. 

The Sea Lions were able to obtain the scores to tie for third place out of 14 teams. According to head coach Lance Hancock, the team surpassed its scoring goals for the tournament. 

“Our first event in Arizona showed an incredible amount of control as they turned in scores that we have hoped for while listing our team scoring goals,” Hancock said. “We met and exceeded them, producing a slightly lower finish than hoped for, but the ability to turn in four good scores was there.”

Despite a strong opening performance, PLNU struggled at its second tournament, the SSU Fall Invitational in Santa Rosa, California. The team finished sixth overall, which was far below its goals. Hancock expressed his frustration with the team’s overall performance. 

“All of us, while breaking down the week, are having difficulty in explaining what happened,” Hancock said. “I really didn’t expect that this team could lose their way through a round of golf the way they did. In all honesty, they simply made unforced errors that you usually don’t find in experienced players.” 

Despite the team’s struggles in Santa Rosa, there was a silver lining. Second-year history major Kiara Hernandez has been one of the team’s top performers so far. In Arizona, she was the team’s top golfer, finishing 19th overall. Then, in Santa Rosa, she finished tied for third individually. 

Hernandez transferred to PLNU this semester after a year at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia.

“I knew deep down in my heart that there was more to my academic and athletic career, so when making the switch from Shorter to PLNU, I had a sense of comfort that I was going to be on a team that challenged my athletic abilities in a very inclusive and friendly environment,” Hernandez said. 

Hernandez also emphasized how supportive the PLNU women’s golf team has been during her transition. 

“This transition has been easier than I anticipated,” she said. “I consider these women as amazing teammates and my built-in friends. Coach Hancock has been a massive help in making this transition as easy as possible.” 

Hernandez’s third-place finish in Santa Rosa earned her PacWest Golfer of the Week on Oct. 4. On top of Hernandez’s strong start, she also has high hopes for the team as a whole. 

“I can say with complete positivity that we are all competitive and seeking high results as a team as this season is moving by,” she said. “I have no doubts that we will reach our goals as a team to have really good results for the duration of our fall season into the spring.”

Fourth-year information systems major Haley Wong shared the same high hopes for the season. 

“As a team, we are, as always, hoping to win our PacWest Championship, return to the NCAA West Regional Championship and make it to nationals,” Wong said. 

Despite the lackluster performance in Santa Rosa, Hancock explained that he’s still optimistic that the team can pull it together as it wraps up its fall season and enters into the spring.