On the weekend of Oct. 17-18, while most students enjoyed a peaceful fall break, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's golf team flew to Prescott, Arizona, to perform in the Embry-Riddle tournament. They took second out of eight teams overall, and on day two, they produced the lowest score in school history.
Yes, in golf, low scores are a good thing.
Emma Kang CM '20 was the tournament's co-champion and scored a 236, and Mary Bryan Owen CM '19 took third. The tournament wrapped up the five-week-long fall season for the Athenas, who will return to competition in January.
While golf may initially seem like the quintessential “individual sport,” for the Athenas, it's all about the team. Kelly Ransom CM '19 echoed this sentiment, telling TSL that “although it's very individual, team chemistry still plays a big part. If you do have a good team like we do now, if you have a bad round or something, your teammates are there to cheer you up. Our team is closer than some other teams that maybe are more of a traditional team sport,” Ransom said.
Head coach Jodie Burton added that she is “fortunate to have a team with exceptional people who work extremely hard, and are very committed, but also are so much fun to share the challenges golf courses and CMS community provides.” Individually, players may have off days and on days, but the team goal will reflect the collective effort. Owen explained, “Even if you're not playing well individually, every stroke still counts for the team score.”
In collegiate golf, each team fields six players and counts the lowest four scores towards the total team score. In addition to the second place finish in Arizona, the Athenas won their only other tournament this fall, the CMS Invite in Chino Hills, California.
“We need to always fight for every stroke,” Ransom said. “We're capable of doing something really good and harnessing our potential.” Breaking the school record and earning first and second in their two fall tournaments boosted the team's confidence, but they're not planning to sit back and congratulate themselves in their off season.
In fact, they plan to do the opposite: identify their weaknesses, determine the roots of the problems, and eliminate them.
“I think what we saw when we shot the lowest round [last weekend] is that all of us are capable of shooting low scores at the same time,” Ransom observed. “In the past, some of us [would] shoot low scores and others wouldn't. We need to work on being more consistent.”
The Athenas will return to competition on Feb. 11, at the Walker Cup in San Dimas.