Occidental’s women’s golf team set a new school record at the California State Intercollegiate Tournament hosted by Cal Lutheran University Sept. 11. The team shot 302, beating the previous record — which was set last spring — by six shots. Co-captains Madeline Greene (junior) and Maya Ghosh (senior) shot 71 and 77, respectively, on the par-72 course. Rachel Aujero (sophomore) and Amanda Gow (sophomore) shot 74 and 80, respectively. According to head coach Will Morris, breaking the record was an exciting moment.
“[The team] broke the record by six strokes. Usually, a record gets broken by one or two strokes at a time, and so to break it by six was fantastic,” Morris said.
According to Morris, Greene’s 71 in this tournament was one of the lowest individual scores in Occidental’s history. Greene said she was satisfied with her performance.
“We have a lot of returners, and then some incoming freshmen and transfers that are really helping to build up the program,” Greene said. “I played really well that round specifically.”
Although Morris said women’s golf is a spring sport, the teams play tournaments in both the fall and spring seasons, with inter-conference tournaments in the fall and SCIAC tournaments in the spring. According to Morris, the team finished seventh in the conference last year. Morris said that SCIAC is incredibly competitive, with three of the top five teams in the country hailing from SCIAC last year.
“We’re in the best small college conference in the nation,” Morris said.
Greene said the team has been improving since she joined three years ago. According to Greene, one of the team’s goals for the season is to rank among the top four teams in the conference.
“We’ve made a lot of progress and a lot of improvements since I’ve been here as a first year, both dynamically as a team and then also on the course. Our scores have gotten a lot better,” Greene said.
According to Morris, the team feels like they could have played better, even with a record-breaking day like the one last week.
“You always think you could have done better. It’s a game that torments you,” Morris said.
According to Ghosh, she felt like there was room for improvement despite the record.
“We came away very impressed with our performance. We felt it was a very successful tournament,” Ghosh said. “Maddie and Rachel had really, really good rounds. But even they were like, ‘Yeah, I left a stroke here. I left a stroke there.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I could have done better.’”
According to Morris, the margins in golf are extremely thin and those one or two strokes can make a huge difference. According to Greene, two shots can mean the difference between placing third or fourth place.
“We were super close to beating our other teams, like Cal Lutheran and Chapman, by just a few shots,” Greene said.
According to Gow, a transfer from Trinity College, breaking the record was a great welcome in her first tournament playing for Occidental. She said she looks up to Greene and Ghosh as supportive captains.
“They’re awesome. I can’t really say enough about how great they are as captains,” Gow said. “They’re just great leaders and great examples for the team.”
Morris said he credits the team’s dedication to the sport for their improvements in rankings and scores over the last few years.
“We just kind of keep getting better. The team [has] very good, dedicated players that have learned how to figure out that academic-athletic balance,” Morris said.
Ghosh said that she feels a sense of responsibility for the team and tries to build camaraderie and a supportive environment at practices and tournaments.
According to Morris, an important goal for the team for this season was for the team to collectively score under 300 in a tournament.
“It’s like a four-minute mile in track or something,” Morris said. “They’re hoping to be able to do that.”
Gow said that her goal is to keep improving over the next few years, and that in the future, they could be a team that qualifies for nationals.
“I’m really hoping to just play good golf, and start placing better,” Gow said.
Ghosh credits the team’s success to the close bonds between members.
“We’ll break [the records] or we won’t, but the bonds we have as a team are forever, and we’re super excited to forge those and see where the season takes us,” Ghosh said.
Contact Ruby Gower at firstname.lastname@example.org.