UW Daily Previews Men's and Women's Golf
Sept. 30, 2009
By Taylor Soper
After men's golf head coach Matt Thurmond called the 2008 season 'one of the best,' it would be hard to believe that this year's squad could produce better results.
But the impressive part of last year was that the team had immense success without any seniors. And the top three golfers from last season are now seniors, meaning only one thing: They can only get better.
The Huskies are looking just as dominant in 2009 as they did during their record-breaking season last year. Thurmond couldn't be happier with his players.
'I think we'll be an awesome team, and we're going to have a great year,' Thurmond said, who will enter his ninth year as head coach. 'The team has really bonded, come together.'
They already won a tournament early in the season.
At the Topy Cup in Tanagura, Japan, the Huskies rallied to capture first place by just four strokes and defeated the four-time defending champs Tohoku Fukushi University. Senior Richard Lee was 7-under overall and finished second individually.
Seniors Nick Taylor, Darren Wallace, Chris Killmer and Lee all return for their final year. All four competed regularly in the starting lineup last year, gaining valuable experience. Thurmond praised his seniors for their leadership skills.
'The great thing about the senior class is that they're not only great players, but they're the kind of leaders I want to have,' Thurmond said. 'It's nice to have players who have played so long. They are not too emotional, and they are matured. They know how this thing works, so you can count on them.'
Junior Tze Huang Choo returns for his third year. Choo, who averaged 73.91 strokes per round last year, was also a consistent starter last year.
The proven seniors and juniors will be joined by talented freshmen. Headlining the new class is freshman Chris Williams. The native of Moscow, Idaho, was a four-time Idaho State 4A state champion and has an impressive junior resume. He finished second in the Huskies' most recent qualifying round.
Charlie Hughes, who hails from British Columbia, is a long-hitting freshman who has also had great junior results. Rounding out the group is Larry Iverson. The native of Kalispell, Mo., is a solid all-around player, Thurmond said.
'All three [freshmen] have potential to help us this year,' he said.
Taylor will lead this year's squad and is the No. 1 golfer. Taylor played all throughout the summer. Earlier this year, Husky golf fans may have noticed a familiar name on the U.S. Open leader board. Taylor surprised many by shooting 2-under during the first two rounds. He was in seventh place overall and eventually finished tied for 36th place. Taylor was the top amateur finisher and immediately became the world's highest ranked amateur, a ranking he still holds.
The team's ultimate goal is to win the national championship. After losing in the NCAA quarterfinals last year against Arkansas, the Huskies aren't shy about stating their goals.
'That's our goal,' Thurmond said of winning the national championship. 'We openly talk about it. That's what we're shooting for, and we certainly have a good chance at it.'
The women's team has yet to begin its 2009-10 season, and players and coaches are antsy to get the year off to a good start and put last year's disappointing season behind them.
'I think we're all excited,' head coach Mary Lou Mulflur said. 'I feel like we have a lot of talent, and we have a lot of people that are fully committed to what we're doing and want to win. I expect us to have a good year.'
The women, just like the men, did not graduate any players and will return the entire starting lineup for the 2009-10 season.
'I know we're a year older, but hopefully we're a year smarter,' said Mulflur, who will enter her 27th season as head coach.
The team has a bitter taste from last year's season, which concluded with the Huskies missing the NCAA championships by five strokes in the NCAA qualifying tournament. The way it ended last year, there's no doubt in Mulflur's mind that her players should be ready to compete and win.
'They are definitely hungry,' she said. 'They do not want the year to end like it did last year.'
Mulflur will look to senior Molly Aronsson for leadership. Aronsson, who was second last year with a 75.83 scoring average per round, has worked extremely hard this offseason and is poised to make a big impact on the team this year, both as a player and a leader.
'She has worked harder this summer than any summer in her college career,' Mulflur said. 'Molly is really starting to emerge as a leader for us. She's got a lot of positive energy, and she plays with a lot of emotion. I fully expect her to have a great year.'
Also returning is last year's top performer, junior Anya Alvarez. Alvarez led the team last year with a 74.87 scoring average per round. She also led the team in scoring average per round her freshman year.
Mulflur is confident this year's depth and experience will help them have a good season. She is anxious to put last season behind her and turn those bad experiences into a winning season this year.
'I'm confident with the players we have,' she said. 'I feel like whoever we put in there can play and compete for us, and it also makes competition everyday more important. Our depth will be one of our strengths. That will be a big factor for us this year.'
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