Gu, Knox Shine on the Course at SCIAC Tourney

The 2015 SCIAC Golf
Championships brought three days of play over 54 holes for competitors on all teams in the conference April 26-28. The Pomona-Pitzer women’s golf team placed third overall, with Tiffany Gu PO ’16 placing second overall in the women’s tournament. The P-P men’s team placed seventh, with Kevin Knox
PO ’16 tying for fourth place.

A number of factors contributed to the tournament’s taxing nature, including narrow scoring, course topography and heat. 

“It was
pretty warm, and it was half the weekend without much sleep,” Jeff Carney PO ’18 said.

Above all else, wind tended to dictate the tournament. While the conditions of
the first day were somewhat manageable, the second day’s late start time allowed an afternoon breeze to fling balls off course in midair. Gu, who
prefers to be referred to as “Gooey,” said that the weather had a big effect on her game.

“Once
the wind started picking up, I started to lose a little bit of focus,” Gooey
said. “My ball flight is pretty different because I’m short and I hit the ball
really far, so that means my ball goes really high in the air. Whenever I hit
my high shots, the wind would push it to the side or push it out of bounds. I
didn’t have enough time to adjust my ball strike during the last three holes,
and the wind put me in some bad positions. I couldn’t get out of them to save
par.”

Gooey was able to refocus and compensate on the third day, only to meet a different
condition on the course. In order to host a 54-hole tournament on an 18-hole course,
landscapers changed the holes’ positions on the green on a daily basis. According
to Gooey, the inherent bumpiness of the green combined with the changing hole locations made for an equally challenging third day.

“[The
holes] were on parts [of the green] that were really sloped, so your ball had
no chance of stopping when you were putting,” she said. “[Some were] also on the very edge
of the green where there would be a lake, which would earn you a penalty if you
struck your ball into it.”

The
wind of the second day and the testy holes on the third led to the Sagehen men and women finishing only a few strokes behind the next highest finishers. The Sagehen men finished just behind sixth-place Whittier College and the Sagehen women finished just behind second-place University of Redlands. Both teams felt as though their performances were not reflective of how well they actually golfed.

“We
all feel like there’s shots that we could have picked up,” Gooey said. “We were
only off of second place by four strokes. I personally count four putts on the
last day where the ball wouldn’t go in, so if I had made those four we would
have made second place.”

Carney
expressed a similar sentiment. The Sagehen men aspired to match Chapman University during
the tournament, but ended seventeen shots behind them.

“Redlands, Cal Lu, CMS, and La Verne typically dominate our league,
but we kept it pretty close with Chapman,” he said. “It was disappointing that we couldn’t
get past Chapman and get into a better position.”

In the end, the
Sagehens took the meet’s outcome as a mark of progress and as an incentive for
future improvements. 

“Overall, we did a lot better than last year,” Gooey said. “Our average
is constantly improving year by year because we’re getting better [golfers]. Everyone else is becoming more serious because we have an opportunity to win
and do really well as a team.”

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