Event: NCAA Division I Women’s Golf National Championship
Where: University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course – Albuquerque, N.M.
When: Today, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; all day
Who to watch: Usually a player is highlighted in this section, but for this event, the national championships, head coach Kathy DeYoung should be the one to watch.
The 1975 Fresno State graduate has been a key component to the Aggies’ success this season.
Since conceiving the program in 2005, the soon-to-be retired DeYoung has led the women’s golf team to tournament titles in each of its first three seasons and now to its first national championship berth in only its first year as an official member of Division I.
Did you know? On May 14, the UC Davis athletic department officially announced the hiring of Anne Walker as the successor to DeYoung after this season.
Walker spent her playing days at California, and after graduating in 2002, served as an assistant coach for the program until being elevated to assistant head coach in 2007.
“We are delighted that Anne is going to be joining UC Davis,” said associate athletics director Bob Bullis. “She has great coaching experience, and I believe she will take the team from where Kathy has gotten it in its three years and keep moving forward with it.”
Preview: Some programs go years without ever making it to the big dance.
But DeYoung and her Aggies have done it in less than three.
Led by a trio of freshman and two seasoned veterans, UC Davis leads a very balanced attack that can strike at any position.
Freshman standout Chelsea Stelzmiller has made all the headlines this year after pacing the team with her 74.3 strokes per round and three top-five finishes. Capping off the impressive regular season results, the Union Mine High School graduate earned Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors for the Big West Conference while receiving first-team honors.
Fellow freshman Alice Kim is second on the team with her regular season average of 75.5 strokes per round. Kim played a huge part in NCAA West Regional on May 10 as she fired off a 222 for the three rounds, good for 30th place in the tournament and second on the team.
The third freshman on the starting roster for the Aggies is Katie Sisler, who has been consistent for the Aggies in the postseason, chalking up a pair of 231s in both the conference championship and at the NCAA Division I West Regional. For the season, Sisler has averaged 77.1 strokes a round with three top-10 finishes.
When the phrase “seasoned veteran” comes to mind, immediately there’s the thought of Bryana Gregory.
Miss Consistent last year, Gregory has started in every tournament for the Aggies and carries an average of 76 strokes per round. The junior has been with the team since the beginning and will be a great competitor to have for nationals today.
Rounding out the roster for UC Davis is senior Sydney Roughton, who took center stage for the Aggies at Regionals.
Roughton led UC Davis with her 13th place finish – made possible by her 1-under 71 on the final day – and helped UC Davis claim the pivotal eighth place slot to advance to Nationals.
At this week’s tournament, Duke will be looking for its fourth straight national championship at the 6,424-yard, par 72 course.