The UC Davis women’s golf team got the chance to see how they stacked up against some of the best teams in the nation at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate.
What the Aggies found was that, well, they are one of the best teams in the nation.
No. 23 UC Davis, who co-hosted the tournament with Oregon State University, snagged seventh place at Half Moon Bay Golf Links with an 11 over par in three rounds of play.
The Aggies beat out two higher-ranked opponents and played close to some of the top-ranked teams, including No. 14 California, whose 872 barely kept UC Davis at bay. Eight of the participating teams were ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
“It was a good week for us; we played well and finished seventh in a super strong field,” said Coach Anne Walker.
The three-round total of 875 was a product of improvement as each round passed. The Aggies’ 297 first-round performance had them in ninth place until they posted a 294 and an even better 284 in the ensuing rounds to finish seventh overall.
Junior Demi Runas was the only UC Davis player to shoot below par in the first round, with a solid 71-stroke performance.
Freshmen Blair Lewis and Beverly Vatananugulkit led the Aggies in the second round, each posting one over par to bring UC Davis into eighth place after two rounds.
Vatananugulkit and sophomore Jessica Chulya were on point in the final round, each posting three under 69s to lead UC Davis to their best round of the tournament.
“[Vatananugulkit and Chulya] are young and developing really well,” Walker said. “[Chulya] started feeling comfortable just going under par and she’s starting to get a lot more birdies.”
Chulya had five birdies in the last round and Vatananugulkit had four. Runas’s three birdies balanced out her three bogeys to give her an even 72 third round.
The final round brought Vatananugulkit’s total score to a 216, good for 10th place individually. Runas’ 217 gave her 14th place while Chulya’s three-under on the last day gave her a 218 total and 17th place.
Amy Simanton also got better with time, shooting a three-over and a two-over in the last two rounds. The junior finished in 56th place with a 227 stroke total, while Lewis’ 229 placed her in a tie for 59th.
“We’re just trying to work on our routine; a lot of focus is going on our pre-shot routine,” Walker said. “If we can take care of things we can control, they’re not going to happen and it really paid off this time.”
This was the Aggies’ last tournament before they enter the Big West Championships on Sunday to defend their title at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
“I think we’re right where we want to be. Most importantly, all of them are ready for the postseason,” Walker said. “We did a good job of pacing ourselves so we don’t get burnt out — so we’re actually going to ramp up practice.”
MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at email@example.com.