Confidence brimming for SDSU women’s golf team

by Matt Fierst, Staff Writer

Momentum and confidence are two big factors when it comes to a team’s success over a season. The San Diego State women’s golf team has both coming off of two consecutive tournament victories.

The Aztecs won the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Wolcott, Colorado, on Sept. 23, and took home the crown again in the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in Sammamish, Washington, on Oct. 7.

Last year, the Aztecs won their first team tournament, the Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Fort Collins, Colorado, and finished fifth in their second tournament, the Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Winning the two tournaments has not only upped the team’s confidence, but shows the team’s depth.

“It has been years since we have had a team that is this deep,” junior Sirene Blair said. “Every player on this team has the capability to shoot under par.”

The Aztecs have had nine rounds under par so far this season, four from senior Emma Henrikson, two from Blair and one each from sophomores Mila Chaves, Haleigh Krause and Georgia Lacey.

“I feel that we have more of a foundation than we did last year,” Blair said. “I feel that now our younger sophomores are really stepping it up and giving us a better outlook.”

Lacey, Krause and Chaves have each had top-10 finishes this season. Lacey tied for ninth at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, Krause tied for eighth at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and Chaves tied for fifth at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational.

“We played against some really good schools and without our depth and our coach’s management and leadership, I don’t think we would have won those (tournaments),” Blair said.

The Aztecs came out on top of No. 1 University of Washington in the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational and also beat No. 18 Arizona State in the Golfweek Conference Challenge.

Blair’s best finish came when she finished fourth at the Golfweek Conference Challenge. She also tied for 20th at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational.

Winning consecutive tournaments has heightened her confidence in her individual game, along with the team’s overall confidence.

“My game has been struggling in putting a little, but whenever you have good rounds it boosts every aspect of your game,” Blair said.

The success in the two tournaments has catapulted the Aztecs up the NCAA rankings to the No. 25 spot.

“We proved that winning just one tournament was not a matter of luck,” Chaves said. “We beat teams that are positioned higher than us in the rankings and I think that gives us more confidence and shows what we are able to do.”

Concerning her individual game, Chaves believes the tournament victories will have a domino effect.

“When the team is doing well, it motivates us even more to go out there and get even better,” Chaves said. “Each of us knows that our games contribute to the ultimate result, so we are practicing very hard to bring the trophy back home (every tournament).”

The team’s next tournament is the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown from October 25-27.

“I only see this team going forward,” Chaves said.

The players feel the team should have a good chance of taking home a third consecutive tournament crown if it builds on the confidence and momentum it has gained.

“It’s a great feeling to know that we’ve already won twice,” Blair said. “As long as we play our game like we’ve been doing, we should be fine.”