By, Brian Elser
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's golf team is preparing for the 2010 West Coast Conference Golf Championships. The Broncos will travel to Vallejo to play at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club. Hiddenbrooke is spread out over 5,974 yards and boasts a par of 72. The tournament is held over the course of two days, Monday-Tuesday April 19-20.
The first group for the Broncos will tee off at 8:40 a.m. Monday morning. They will be competing against conference foes Pepperdine, San Francisco, Portland, and Gonzaga. Live scoring will be available on golfstat.com.
"This spring season our team has broken scoring records for 18, 36 and 54-hole rounds," said head coach Polly Schulze. "So on any given day they can be competitive with the best in the nation. The most important thing is that we score consistently low in all three rounds to achieve our goal which is to vie for a second place finish and secure a solid third place finish if second is not achieved."
Ueoka Finishes 2nd at Last Season's WCC
The Broncos finished in third place last season and were led by then-sophomore Miki Ueoka as she tied for second overall. It was the highest individual Bronco finish at the WCC Championships in program history. This is where Ueoka took off and became the first player in Bronco history to make it all the way to the NCAA Regionals as an individual. Pepperdine took the team title and the individual medalist was Pepperdine's Jayvie Agojo.
"Miki had a special year last year," said Schulze. "Her season was so solid and she played with such confidence and had complete command of her game. She seemed to be able to hit shots and make putts at will. It was so inspiring to watch her and I was proud of her for accomplishing something that no other Bronco in women's golf had, making it to the post season."
Mental Game Helps SCU Set New Records in
This has been a record-breaking year for the Broncos. SCU posted its best team score in program history in the first round of the Fresno State Lexus Classic with a scorching 292. The Broncos were led by Ueoka with a three-under 69; senior Erin Sullivan was at even-par 72, junior-transfer Lauren Oh was two-over 74, and sophomore Tammy Surtees and Jamie Nonaka tied with a five-over par 77. It was only the fourth-time in program history that the Broncos have broken the 300 scoring mark. It was also the lowest 36 and 54-hole tournament scores that the Broncos have ever shot.
"I am most proud of the way the team has embraced the mental game training we have added this year," says Schulze. "Our mental game coach, Rick Sessinghaus, has done a great job connecting with the team and giving them the tools mentally that are immediately applicable to on-course situations. I feel that the team is much more equipped to handle the adverse conditions that will inevitably arise in a round of golf. The team has also done a great job in the gym working with our trainer Chris Wulff. They have gained such stability over the ball and much better endurance for our 36-hole days. Overall I think the team has worked hard to achieve the goals that we have set and we are getting closer and closer all the time to contending on a more national scale."
Ueoka - a junior from the Hawaiian Islands - has posted five top-20 finishes this season. She fired the second-lowest round in program history at the Fresno State Lexus Classic (69) that led to the program's best-ever team finish. She also has nine of the 10 lowest rounds ever shot by a Bronco player in her stellar career here at Santa Clara.
Ueoka will look to improve those numbers as she and the Broncos take on the WCC at Hiddenbrooke next week.
"We played the course last year for the WCC's and I really like the layout," said Ueoka. "I'm just trying to formulate a game plan before I get out there. We are trying to stay focused on what our goals are. And on the mental side were just trying to not get too much into score and just take one shot at a time."