Women’s golf enters spring season young, confident

Team looks to build off challenging fall season

A challenging schedule brought out good and bad moments from the Virginia women’s golf team this past fall. Yet the Cavaliers, who rely on some young but emerging players, enter the spring 2017 season with high aspirations.

“Our goal is to make it back to the NCAA Championships,” head coach Kim Lewellen said. “This team is much different than teams we’ve had in the past. In our lineup we have many underclassmen, but even being young they are competitive and looking forward to a strong spring season.”

Of Virginia’s top five golfers from this past fall, only one is an upperclassman — senior captain Lauren Diaz-Yi. This inexperience showed at times as the Cavaliers competed in some of the nation’s toughest fall tournaments, including when the team finished 11th out of 12 at the prestigious ANNIKA Intercollegiate back in September.

However, Virginia’s impressive talent also showed. In the Tar Heel Invitational last October featuring 11 teams ranked in the top 50, the Cavaliers achieved a second day round score of 283 (5-under). That score was the second-best round by any team in the tournament, trailing only eventual champion Wake Forest’s first round score of 282 (6-under).

“We played a very competitive schedule and I think we had some ups and downs in terms of finishes,” Lewellen said. “We tried some different lineup combinations so I could see how some players responded in a tournament setting. I saw some growth at the end of the fall season.”

Looking to build off of strong individual fall seasons are sophomores Anna Redding and Katharine Patrick. The duo were the Cavalier’s top two leaders in stroke average per round for the fall, averaging 72.83 and 74.17, respectively. With another season of experience, and intense training over the winter break, the two players look poised to have exceptional years.

“This team worked hard during the off-season,” Lewellen said. “I look forward to seeing their hard work pay off in the spring.”

The Cavaliers first spring tournament will be this weekend in the Florida State Matchup. The tournament will host 12 teams, including No. 4 Florida State and No. 12 South Carolina. It will be played at the Don Veller Seminole Golf Course and Club in Tallahassee, Fla.

Last season, Virginia finished in ninth place at the tournament. Current sophomore Morgan Gonzales had a solid showing in last year’s tournament as a freshman, finishing tied for 29th out of 68 golfers with a score of 227 (11-over).

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