news 4 days ago

Huskies enjoying being back in the mix at the women's NCAA golf championships

The Seattle Times — Scott Hanson The Seattle Times

May 17--Two years after winning its first national championship, the Washington women's golf team is back in the NCAA championships after missing the event last season.

The Huskies, ranked No. 14, finished fifth in the Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional last week to earn one of the six berths from that event into the championships, which begin Friday at the Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

Twenty-four teams will compete the first three days, and the top 15 will then advance to the fourth round Monday, after which the individual champion will be crowned. The top eight teams after that round will advance to match play.

For UW, it doesn't matter much if it is first or eighth after Monday. The Huskies know if they make it to match play, they will have a chance no matter the seed.

"Anything can happen once you get into match play," said Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur, in her 35th season as UW's coach. "Match play is the ultimate crapshoot. You can play well and lose, and you can play poorly and win. We enjoy match play."

The Huskies have rebounded nicely this season after struggling last year as defending national champions, failing to make it back to the NCAA championships.

"Last year was no doubt a wake-up call, and you can't assume anything," Mulflur said. "You can't take anything for granted, and they worked their tails off this year. It's not that they didn't work hard last year, but they understand that every shot counts, and you can't take a shot off."

Washington juniors Wenyung Keh, Julianne Alvarez and Sarah Rhee came up huge for UW as freshmen in the march to the NCAA title in 2016, going a combined 7-2 in match play. They will be joined in the lineup this year by sophomore Karen Miyamoto and freshman Rino Sasaki.

"We have three players who have been through it, who can help the younger kids," Mulflur said. "There are going to be cameras. Names and faces are going to be on the electronic scoreboards. You can't practice for that, but I think they'll be fine."

Mulflur said she has never seen the course, but has heard it's tough, narrow and tree-lined. The Huskies play at notoriously narrow Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, so Mulflur doesn't think her team will be intimidated.

"They are peaking at the right time, so I am confident," Mulflur said. "And more important, they feel confident."


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