Women’s golf rides first-place finish into second half of season

The women’s golf squad hosted the Super San Diego Tournament at the River Walk Golf Club today after an approximate three-month customary period of non-tournament play, as they look to the latter half of the season.

After finishing fifth at the PLNU Fall Preview Tournament, the team has improved considerably by placing second twice and winning their most recent competition, the Cal State San Marcos Invitational. It was the first team victory at the Division II competitive level.

Freshman Haley Fuller, who placed first at the opening tournament of the season, said the break had little effect on the team’s level of play.

“At the same time, it’s normal because all through my junior years (before I got to college), it was a very solo sport,” said Fuller. “You practice by yourself, so practicing with the team isn’t too foreign, but competition-wise, it’s hard when you’re not striving to get a spot on the team or a specific score on the course.”

Junior Samantha Stockton, who led the team with a personal season-best score of 151 at the San Marcos Invitational, said Fuller set the bar for the rest of the team after the first tournament, which has helped pace them to this point in the season.

“She [Fuller] kind of set the standard after she won our first tournament individually,” said Stockton. “So I think that has pushed us all a little further and increased the standard.”

Additionally, Stockton said the team’s chemistry has improved since the opening tournament.

“We’re all super encouraging, I feel like we’ve all become more as a team or a family,” she said. “We all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we know how to build off each other that way.”

Fuller said a large part of the success has come from having a balanced set of players this season.

“I would say that we’re all so close in skill, that we’re all battling for those top spots on the team, so you kind of have to do your best or be your best all of the time or else you’re not going to get a spot,” said Fuller. “So it’s not just competition with other schools –it’s more of a fun competition with your teammates- but it’s also the want to do better than everyone, so we constantly push each other; and when we’re constantly pushing each other, then we’re getting better as a team.”

Four-year Head Coach Jacqui McSorley said the team’s large roster size and quality of competition has been incremental in the team’s steady success.

“For the first time, we have competition fueling the improvement,” said McSorley via email. “The girls have to qualify to make the starting lineup, so they are getting more practice in the competition mode.”

As the team looks to the latter half of the season, McSorley said she wants the team to look to the present.

“We want to win again. I’d like to see another individual player win a title again too. That’s always good inspiration for everyone,” said McSorley. “We want to be in contention in every tournament we play and of course we want to win PacWest and qualify for nationals.”

McSorley also wants to keep her seniors from getting distracted.

“In golf, advancing beyond regionals is a tall order, but I think we can do it,” said McSorley.

McSorley also wants to keep her seniors from getting distracted.

“To do this, we have to stay focused. I have four seniors that will be thinking of graduation and life beyond PLNU. I have to make sure they stay in the moment [and] play their best golf…The foundation is strong and we need to keep building on our successes.”