Cal Women's Golf Outlook
Feb. 25, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. - Four NCAA Championships appearances.
Five NCAA regional berths.
One NCAA individual champion
Six all-regions honorees.
Sixteen All-Pac-10 selections.
One national coach of the year.
Together the above accomplishments have earned California its long-desired status of being a 'golf school.' The 2004-05 Golden Bears look tobuild on last season's school-best fourth-place finish at NCAAs and No. 3 national ranking as Cal celebrates the 10th anniversary of its women's golf program.
Nancy McDaniel, the founding coach of the Cal women's golf team, feels that two factors ultimately lifted the reputation of Cal golf in 2004 - the men's team winning the NCAA team title and Sarah Huarte claiming the NCAA individual crown.
'We've had solid seasons, but we hadn't yet been recognized as a school like ASU as far as golf goes,' said McDaniel, the 2003 NGCA and Golfweek Coach of the Year. 'To become a golf school, you have to go to nationals, year in and year out, and you have to learn from every single experience. Even if you slip, you're not a fluke. You're considered a school that's around. Of course, the academic side of things helps solidify us as a great institution for a student-athlete.'
This year's Cal team blends youth with three players with NCAA Championships experience in senior Claire Dury and juniors Sophia Sheridan and Sofie Andersson. Dury (Palmerston North, New Zealand) and Andersson (Angelholm, Sweden) both represented their countries at the World Amateur Team Championships in Puerto Rico in October, along with Huarte who competed for the United States.
Sheridan and Andersson each earned honorable mention All-America honors last season and ranked second (74.97) and third (75.00), respectively, on the team in stroke average.
Andersson placed sixth at the 2004 NCAA Championships at three-over-par 287, including a career-best score of 68 in the second round. The Swedish national team veteran led the Bears in two of three events in the fall and boasts the team's best stroke average (75.1). She helped Sweden win the World Amateur team title.
'Sofie is completely organized,' McDaniel said. 'She knows exactly what she wants. It helps the team rise to a higher level. Sofie brings education from the Swedish golf federation, time management and maturity.'Sheridan, a 2004 second team All-Pac-10 pick, turned in three solid efforts in the fall but looks to return to her sophomore year form. Last season, the Guadalajara, Mexico, native recorded six top 20 results, highlighted by runner-up finishes at the Wildcat Invitational and the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, and was ranked as high as No. 18 nationally. Over the summer, Sheridan won the Western Amateur in Madison, Wis.
'Sophia is coming into her own,' McDaniel said. 'She's realizing what her ultimate goals are with golf. Her most important assets are her enthusiasm and intensity. She keeps the team up and running.'
After a summer playing golf every day, Dury is having her best season in a Cal uniform in 2004-05. In the fall, Dury posted the second-best average on the team at 75.3 and paced the Bears with a 15th-place showing at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational. She has competed in three NCAA Championships at Cal and helped New Zealand to a ninth-place finish - its best ever - at the World Amateur Team Championships.
'Claire is probably our most committed player,' McDaniel said. 'She knows she wants to play professionally after college. Her attitude has elevated the team's professionalism and long-term objectives.'
Sophomore Mika Takayama returns to the Bears this spring after a year and a half of playing amateur golf in Japan. Takayama was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection as a freshman in 2002-03, posting the third-best scoring average on the team at 75.6.
'Mika is back after playing in Japan,' McDaniel said. 'It was a great learning experience for her. She left Cal as a strong collegiate player and is even stronger now. She brings a great perspective having spent time away and realizes the value of a degree from Cal. She plans to pursue it whole-heartedly.'
Sophomore Danielle Nash, who hails from Roseville, Calif., continues to show improvement. She competed in five tournaments in her rookie campaign, primarily as an individual, but cracked the starting five in all three fall events. She carded her low round of the fall (75) in the final round of the Las Vegas Founders' Collegiate Showdown.
'Danielle is loaded with potential,' McDaniel said. 'She needs to get comfortable on the course, and when she does, she's going to tear it up. Her strength is her length. She's working on her short game, hoping to put her whole game together.'
Redshirt freshman Eunice Yum is one of Cal's most coachable players and looks to earn a spot in the lineup for the first time this spring. A product of Torrance, Calif., Yum was a three-time MVP at South High School.
'I am happy with the hard work Eunice has put in even after a redshirt year and not having traveled yet,' McDaniel said. 'She's getting better in all aspects - fit wise, mental wise and commitment wise.'
Cal dramatically improved its overall team strength with the addition of Enu Chung, the No. 1 amateur player in New Zealand. Chung joined the Bears in January with four years of eligibility. She was named the 2003 Female Amateur Golfer of the Year by the New Zealand Golf Federation and was a key member of her country's team at the Tasman Cup, Queen Sirikit Cup and the Commonwealth Tournament.
'Enu brings a lot of international experience representing New Zealand as one of its top amateur players,' McDaniel said. 'She demonstrates one of the strongest short games I've ever seen in a young player.'
Freshman Jen Sanders represents the future of Cal golf. Sanders, a four-time league MVP from Placentia, Calif., competed in all three fall tournaments, twice carding a low round of 74.
'Jen has done a lot for us this year,' McDaniel said. 'She's averaging 79, which is right about where we thought she would be. She's a fast learner. Hopefully, over break, she'll put it all together and come back playing more relaxed.'
Dury, Andersson and Sheridan all possess national team and NCAA Championships experience and are eager to lead Cal to its sixth straight regional bid and fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships.If the veterans and newcomers continue to gel, Cal will find itself back at the NCAA Championships in May in Sunriver, Ore., competing against the rest of the country's top golf schools.