Event: Big West Conference Championships
Where: San Luis Obispo Country Club – San Luis Obispo, Calif.
When: Sunday to Tuesday, all day
Who to watch: Junior Chelsea Stelzmiller is primed to have a strong effort at the Big West Conference Championships.
The Placerville, Calif. native led the Aggies at the last two conference championships, finishing tied for first as a freshman in 2008 and tied for second last year.
Did you know? Freshman Amy Simanton was named Big West Conference Golfer for the month of March. She had two top-five finishes during that month and is averaging just 75.3 strokes-per-round on the season.
Preview: UC Davis will be looking to take home their first Big West title as they head down to San Luis Obispo this weekend.
The Aggies have finished second at the last two conference tournaments, dropping last year’s tournament to Long Beach State by a single stroke.
They will be looking to avenge those defeats this year.
“It certainly stands as motivation for us,” said coach Anne Walker.
More importantly though, the Aggies are taking a lesson from last year’s tournament in which UC Irvine looked to be the clear favorite but failed to finish first.
“It’s a good reminder to us that anything can happen,” Walker said. “We need to prepare 100% and concentrate on ourselves.”
This year UC Davis enters as the favorite.
They have been ranked in the top-25 for much of the year, and are currently No. 33 – a full 12 spots ahead of their closest competitor, No. 45 UC Irvine.
To them the numbers aren’t important.
“We don’t think about being the favorites,” Walker said. “We just need to stay focused and make sure we play to the best of our abilities.”
One thing that has made the Aggies so successful this season has been their depth.
UC Davis features eight golfers who average better than 78 strokes per-round, and coach Walker had a difficult decision in choosing the five golfers she wanted to have compete San Luis Obispo.
The lineup she chose features a combination of experience and inexperience. Upperclassmen Alice Kim, Chelsea Stelzmiller, and Kimberly Johnson will compete alongside Simanton and Demi Runas. Between them they have nine top-five finishes this year.
Next week they might just be able to add a Big West title to that resume.
– Trevor Cramer