Women’s Golf To ‘Hunker In The Bunker’

By Mason Kelley

It isn’t every day the nation’s top-ranked golf program loses its two best players before the end of the season. But, after SooBin Kim and Jing Yan earned a spot on the LPGA Tour in December, that is exactly what the Washington women’s program faces as it prepares to restart next month.

Faced with the adversity of losing standouts in Kim, who earned full status on the tour, and Yan, who now has partial status, coach Mary Lou Mulflur said the Huskies are going to “hunker in the bunker.”

“We’re just going to be in there by ourselves,” she said. “Nobody else thinks we can do it, but we think we can.”

For Mulflur, it’s a good news, bad news scenario. The good news? Well, it is never a bad thing for a program to have standouts reach the next level. 

“They’re both good kids,” Mulflur said. “You can’t begrudge them at all, because they’re chasing their dream and we like to think maybe we were a small part of helping them achieve that dream.”

The bad news? Now the Huskies have to adjust on the fly.

“For us as coaches, it’s hard because you work your whole life to put yourself in positions to have a team like this,” Mulflur said. “To have two of them walk out the door midway is hard, but there’s absolutely no hard feelings with them.”

When asked about regrouping after losing two standouts, Mulflur described the challenge as an opportunity for the players in the program.  

“I found myself getting a little irritated with how dismissive people were of our team now that those two are gone,” she said. “We’ve got five players left. We need them all, but they’re all really good.”

Instead of thinking about what could have been, Washington is taking an OK-let’s-go-show-them mentality.  

“In some ways it’s brought us even closer as a team,” Mulflur said. “I’m confident this team will handle it. They will respond to this challenge in a really good way.”

The Huskies have five players – Ying Lou, Eimi Koga, Cyd Okino, Charlotte Thomas and Jennifer Yang – still in the program. There is plenty of experience (and talent) left in the lineup.

“I know these players give their best effort every day,” Mulflur said. “If they just keep doing that, we’ll be fine. Nobody can relax at this point. They have to keep offering their best every day.”

The nation’s No. 1-ranked program suffered a setback, but the Huskies are moving forward with plenty to prove.

“If this creates a little chip on our shoulder and that makes us a little better,” Mulflur said, “then great.”

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