With the retirement of head coach Kathy DeYoung, Anne Walker takes the reigns of the UC Davis women’s golf team this campaign.
Aside from that, not a whole lot has changed.
A year removed from finishing in 21st place at the NCAA Division I Championships in New Mexico, the Aggies returned to the same course to open their 2008-2009 season.
“This team had success last year,” Walker said. “Building on that is the challenge. You have to work hard week-to-week. Those small details – that’s the big challenge.”
Just as it did last season, UC Davis walked away from the University of New Mexico Championship Course having stepped up to the challenge.
The Aggies bounced back from a slow final-round start to post a fourth-place finish against a competitive 16-team field at the Dick McGuire Invitational on Saturday.
“I’m really impressed by the team effort,” Walker said. “We got off to a slow start – a rough start. But we came back. The only teams that can do that have put in the time at practice.”
Putting in the time at practice has become routine.
“The number one thing is that when we leave the parking lot [after practice], we can say we got better today,” Walker said. “We can only worry about what we can control.… We’re out at the putting green till dark.”
Sophomore Alice Kim led the way for UC Davis in New Mexico, shooting a pair of birdies in her final six holes to fire a two-under 71. The Diamond Bar High School product finished in sixth place among individuals, finishing five strokes off the lead.
Fellow sophomore Chelsea Stelzmiller finished two shots off Kim’s pace to finish in a tie for eighth. The Placerville, Calif. native was the lone Aggie to break 70 at the tournament, carding a 69 in the second round.
Senior Brittany Smith, sophomore Katie Sisler and junior Kimberly Johnson finished in ties for 18th, 45th and 88th place, respectively.
After finishing up its stay in Albuquerque on Saturday, UC Davis made a quick turnaround to begin play at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate in Denver, Colo. on Monday.
The team got off to a bit of a slow start, sitting in eighth place in the 13-team field. UC Davis carded a 310 as a team. Host Denver and San Jose State were the only teams to break 300, shooting 287 and 293, respectively.
Kim fired the low round of the day for the Aggies, as her 72 left her tied for eighth among individuals.
“What we’re trying to do is not compare every tournament,” Walker said. “It’s such a long season. We’re focusing on improving each day.… That’s what how you get better.”
UC Davis got better on the tournament’s second day, improving upon its first-round showing by nine strokes to move into seventh place.
Each Aggie shot a 76 or better, with Kim leading the way with a 74 to move into seventh place. Smith had UC Davis’ second-best round of the day, as her 75 was an 11-stroke improvement.
The Aggies concluded play on Wednesday after deadline. For complete results, visit the UC Davis athletics website at ucdavisaggies.com.
ADAM LOBERSTEIN can be reached at email@example.com.