Loncki Wins it All at SCIAC Championships

On the final day of the SCIAC women’s golf championships,
facing challenging windy conditions and clinging to a narrow lead over
Pomona-Pitzer’s Tiffany Gu PO ’16, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Margaret Loncki CM ’18 came through in the clutch, using a strong finish to capture first place at the tournament at the Oak Valley Golf Course in Beaumont, Calif. April 26-28.

Loncki
finished the third and final round of the tournament with a birdie and a par to
post a score of 73, the lowest score of anybody in the round, which helped her
compile a score of 227 across the tournament and beat Gu by one stroke. 

The golfers had to contend with inclement weather that made the round
all the more challenging.

“The
toughest part of that course is that it’s super windy all the time,” Taylor
Kain CM ’17 explained. “If it wasn’t windy it would be a pretty easy course, but
the fact that it’s windy can push your ball right into where you don’t want, so
it’s very easy to make mistakes or choose the wrong club.”

Kain also
posted a strong score of 237 to tie for ninth, and Shaina Raskin SC ’15 and
Marissa Suehiro CM ’15 came in 11th and 12th, respectively, to round out CMS’ top four.

“In this
tournament I was proud of myself because I played really poorly on the first
nine and then on the second nine I was like, ‘OK, well I need to come back’ and
I played really well the second nine,” Kain said. “I ended up shooting one
under and I finished par-par-par. Usually I get inside my head and mess myself up, but this time I really
kept my cool.”

The entire
Athena squad finished off the tournament on a strong note, as the team improved
its score on each day of the three-day tournament to post a robust 305 on
the final day, 15 strokes better then the next lowest score.

“Golf is
such an individual sport so we don’t get together and think of a team game plan
because it’s different for everybody,” Kain said. “Golf is so mental because every little detail
and every change you make in your golf swing can change the direction of the
golf ball.  Mentally, if you doubt
yourself, it’s very easy to miss the ball or hit it not where you want it, so
you have to keep your confidence up in order to play the way you know you can
play.”

The men’s
golf team also turned in a strong performance to capture second place with
a score of 883, only one stroke behind the University of La Verne for first.
Kethan Reddy CM ’16 led the way for the Stags with a score of 216, good for
third place in the tournament.

“Definitely
the way the course was set up, it was important to be strategic and pick your
spots,” Reddy said. “The greens were a little iffy so it was important to make
putts.”

The Stag
squad that competed at the tournament consisted of Reddy and five
first-years, all of whom did well at their first SCIAC Championships. Matt Shuman
CM ’18, who had the next best CMS score, finished tied for eighth with a score
of 225 to give his team’s chances a boost.

“For me I
just try to worry about the things I can control; every shot I try to do the
best I can and be at peace with whatever the outcome is,” Shuman said. “We
were at the mercy of the conditions so having to adapt was one of the
challenges, but the great thing about golf is it’s a level playing field.  It got windy the last day, so you just got to
stick with it. A lot of times the
bounces weren’t going your way so you just have to accept that and move on and
hopefully not let it affect you.”

Jonathan
Shaw CM ’18 tied for tenth with 226, Jackson Zeph CM ’18 posted 227 to tie for
14th and Johnny Brandt CM ’18 came in 16th with 228 to
fill out the team’s top five.

“Every year
we do pretty well at the SCIAC championship, so we could have just been rising
to the occasion, but there’s really nothing specific,” Reddy said. “We did play
an extra practice round for the tournament, so that could be a factor.”

Even though
CMS did not win the SCIAC, the chances are still high that the team will receive
one of the at-large bids to the NCAA Championships that are allocated to the
West Region. The team will learn its
fate May 4.

If CMS does
advance on to the NCAA Championships, they will compete at Grandover Resort in
North Carolina. Reddy, who has played the course several times before, was able
to give a scouting report of the links.

“The greens
are pretty flat and slow, so I’ll make sure that I’m getting my putts to the
hole,” he said. “Also, it’s a striker’s golf course, so it rewards more hitting
the ball rather than making good putts and chips. There are a lot of trees and a
lot of trouble right and left, so it’s important to be hitting the ball
straight.”

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