UC Davis women’s golf started the 2014-15 season with high expectations after finishing last season ranked No. 17 in the country by Golfstat. The team lost only one player from last year’s dominant squad and has won the Big West Championships for the past five years.
The UC Davis women’s golf team consists of five players from last year’s team, four of whom were awarded spots on All-Big West teams. Senior Beverly Vatananagulkit, sophomore Paige Lee and junior Betty Chen were all on the All-Big West First Team while junior Andrea Wong landed on the Third Team. Coach Anna Temple was also awarded her second straight Big West Coach of the Year award after last season.
The Aggies are off to a hot start this season, finishing in third place or better in each of their first three tournaments. In the first tournament of the season, the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational, UC Davis struggled through the first half before finishing strong and winning all but two matches.
Their first invitational gave the Aggies an opportunity to go up against, and win over, several teams that also co-populate the Top 50 rankings. UC Davis was able to defeat No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 26 Iowa State and No. 12 Pepperdine among others. The strong finish was largely due to three top-15 finishes by senior Blair Lewis, Wong and Lee who ended the day in seventh, ninth and 12th place, respectively.
The second match of the season saw a different style of play than usual as the Aggies faced off in match-play. The first day, which determined the top-4 and bottom-4 teams for a bracket, concluding with UC Davis finishing in second place. Wong was able to soundly defeat the entire field, finishing three strokes ahead of the second-place finisher.
The second day saw the Aggies face off in pairs against members of the Wisconsin golf team. Lewis, Wong and Vatananagulkit were able to score victories over their opponents which allowed the team to advance to a Sunday showdown against fourth-seeded Southern Methodist University.
On the last day of the tournament, UC Davis nearly scored a victory when Vatananagulkit raced out to an early four-hole lead in her match. Her opponent, Lindsay McCurdy, however, managed to respond and dispatch her Aggie counterpart. Only Lewis and Chen were victorious that day, forcing UC Davis to settle for a second-place finish.
In their most recent tournament, the Edean Inlanfeldt Invitational, UC Davis was once again able to finish in third place. The Aggies finished the first day in sixth place and fluctuated heavily on the second day of play before settling into their third-place spot.
UC Davis was led by Lewis and Lee who each finished two over par, tying them for fourth place individually. Chen also chipped in, finishing in 16th place overall. Freshman Ally Zeng struggled to a tie for 59th place in the tournament.
The Aggies, who were ranked 26th nationally by Golfweek before their performance in the Edean Inlanfeldt Invitational, will play in one more tournament during the fall season before retiring until February. Once they return, they will try to continue their dominant run at a sixth straight Big West Championship.
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