Prior to the 2018–19 season, the PLNU women’s golf team had won a team title and an individual title at the same tournament only two times in the history of the program.
Now, eight tournaments into the season, the Sea Lions have doubled that figure within a period of six calendar months. With sophomore Alli Kim capturing the individual title and the Sea Lions earning the team title at the CA State Intercollegiate back in September, the success was repeated on March 14 and 15 at the Augustana Spring Fling in Palm Springs, a tournament composed of 10 teams from across the country.
“I think we’ve definitely improved since last season,” said sophomore Summer Marshall. “We got a couple new girls this year and I think that’s really made a difference. I also think we’re stepping up our game with practice, and we’re a little more structured this year, which has helped a lot. We’re definitely working a lot harder.”
Yet, despite the results of what can already be considered the best year for PLNU women’s golf since the 2015–16 season, the team still feels that there is room for improvement.
“There definitely were a bunch of strokes we could have gained back,” said Kim, who has already earned two individual tournament titles this season. “It was a good finish, but there’s a lot of room for improvement for our tournament coming up.”
As of this writing, the Sea Lions are currently ranked 74th in the nation among Division II teams, according to golfstat.com. While Kim is considered a likely candidate to reach the postseason as an individual, the team as a whole is hoping for a better ranking by the end of the season.
Head Coach Lance Hancock, now in his third year, oversaw two relatively slow seasons at the start of his tenure, but feels that the team’s recent success could be the start of a turnaround.
“It’s been a constant challenge to get a process in place,” said Hancock. “All the people that I sort of ‘lean on’ are constantly telling me to have a very specific program with very specific goals and very specific ways of doing things. It’s not there yet, but from when I started it’s considerably more effective now… Everybody picks up the rope and pulls it at the same time together… Everybody that I’ve ever coached at this school has been an outstanding individual person.”
The team’s next tournament will be on Apr. 2 and 3 at the West Texas A&M Spring Invite in Tucson, Arizona, while the PacWest Championships will be held Apr. 23–25 at Litchfield Park, Arizona.
“Looking forward to finishing this year strong…” said Hancock. “There were a lot of teams in our conference that looked at us and told me at the beginning of the year ‘you’re going to win this conference,’ and I would like to show them that they’re right.”