Huskies Ready for NCAA Columbus Regionals
SEATTLE – The No. 14 seed Washington Husky women's golf team will begin play at the 2021 NCAA Regionals on Monday which is being hosted by the Ohio State University at the par-72, 6,358-yard Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University. The three-day, 54-hole event will take place May 10-12 with the top six teams in the 18-team field advance to the NCAA Finals that will be played May 21-26 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Additionally, the top three individuals on non-advancing teams will move on the national championships.
THE FIELD: In the Columbus Region, No. 1 Duke earned the top seed followed by Arizona State, Virginia, Kent State, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Clemson, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Illinois, New Mexico, Nebraska, Washington, Coastal Carolina, Campbell, Evansville and Youngstown State.
THE LINEUP: Competing for the Huskies will be senior Rino Sasaki, freshman Camille Boyd, freshman Stefanie Deng, sophomore Brittany Kwon and junior Martha Lewis.
HUSKIES AT THE REGIONALS: This is the 13th-straight Regional appearance for the Dawgs and the 27th in program history. Washington has advanced to the national tournament twice in the last three seasons (not counting 2020 as the season was cancelled due to COVID) including winning the national title in 2016.
REGULAR SEASON WRAP UP: In the COVID shortened season which teed off for the Huskies on Feb. 1, 2021, Washington put together two top five showings and saw a trio of Huskies record top 10 efforts. The Huskies were led by senior Rino Sasaki who finished first in the lineup for the Dawgs in four of the seven events. She also has a team-best 74.42 stroke average through the Pac-12 Championships. Sasaki won the Juli Inkster Meadow Club Invitational for her second career individual title. The Huskies also took home the team trophy at the Juli Inkster Meadow Club Invitational and followed that up just a few weeks later by finishing third at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational. Freshmen Camille Boyd and Stefanie Deng found themselves in the lineup each week with the pair combining for six top 25 finishes.
SASAKI'S SENIOR CAMPAIGN: The longest tenured Husky on this year's squad, senior Rino Sasaki has been having a stellar senior year, leading the team in stroke average at 74.4 and finishing in the top 25 in six of this season's seven events. She won her second career tournament title at the Juli Inkster Meadow Club Invitational, Washington's first individual win of the season.
DENG'S FRESHMAN CAMPAIGN: Freshman Stefanie Deng put together a strong first season for the Huskies as she posted four top 30 finishes. She turned in her best finish as a Husky when she tied for third at the Juli Inkster Meadow Club Invitational with a 2-over 218 (74-68-76) and followed that with a tie for 17th at the Silverado Showdown after carding a 5-over 221 (67-75-79). She also tied for 27th at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational. Both of her rounds on the season in the 60s came in two of the last four outings and she is the only Husky with two sub-70 scores. Prior to that, Deng's best round had been an even-par 72 (twice) in the young newcomer's season. Her 5-under 67 at the Silverado Showdown in round one was completely bogey free making it UW's first error-free round since Rino Sasaki posted one in the third round of the NCAA Regionals in May of 2019.
TOURNAMENT + INDIVIDUAL VICTORY: Washington swept both the team and individual titles at the Juli Inkster Meadow Club in March making it the first time since October of 2018 that the Dawgs took home both victories at the same event. Overall, since 2015-16, Washington has now brought home both victories in tournament five times. The last time came at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational during the 2018-19 season when Washington posted a 5-under 859 for the win and Sarah Rhee won her first individual title of her career. Prior to that, you'd have to go back to the first event of the 2016-17 season when UW took home both titles at the Pat Lesser Harbottle Invitational, Oct. 10-11, as Julianne Alvarez won the individual crown. She also won the same event in the 2015-16 season as a freshman when UW took home the team title. The same season, at the Peg Barnard (Feb. 13-14, 2016), Wenyung Keh claimed first with UW bring home the trophy.
LAST SEASON'S SUCCESS: Washington is coming off a shortened season which saw the team take home three top five finishes and two individual titles. They finished the year with their best showing finishing third at the Juli Inkster Meadow Club Collegiate. Senior Rino Sasaki won the Pac-12 Preview in Hawaii during the 2019-20 season and led the Huskies with a 73.75 stroke average while adding four under-par rounds. Outgoing senior Karen Miyamoto also claimed a victory, winning the season-opening WSU Cougar Cup.
WHAT'S BACK: The Huskies return senior Rino Sasaki, junior Martha Lewis, sophomores Brittany Kwon and Winnie Ng this season, who all saw significant action during the 2019-20 campaign. Sasaki has posted seven top 10 showings in her career as a Husky and led the Dawgs a year ago in stroke average (73.75). She was named the Pac-12 Golfer of the month for November of 2020 after she didn't finish lower than 13th in any of the four fall tournaments the Dawgs competed in. Kwon finished as high as tied for 11th a year ago while Lewis tied for 12th at the Cardinal Cup. Ng competed in five events a year ago and turned in a tie for 26th at the Cardinal Cup for her best showing of the year. Manhua Chen has not been able to return to the U.S. yet during the pandemic. Graduate student Wenyan Ma is also back for the Dawgs.
WHO'S NEW: Washington welcomes three newcomers to the squad this year in Camille Boyd (Shanghai), Stefanie Deng (Shanghai) and Adithi Anand (Redmond, Wash.). Boyd and Deng are both come from Shanghai while Boyd is originally from California. Deng racked up multiple top 10 finishes on the international circuit in China with her highest showing being a second-place effort at the Buick National Junior Classic in China. Boyd had many successes during her high school career, finishing second at the Wincraft/McArthur Towel & Sports Future Legends Classic. Anand won the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship and finished eighth at the Eagle Crest Junior Championship before finishing ninth at the Pacific Northwest Junior Girls Amateur. She also placed 27th at the IMG Junior World Championships.
SPRING SCHEDULE: Head coach Mary Lou Mulflur's Huskies opened the spring campaign at the SMU Trinity Forest Invitational before heading to the desert for the ASU Sun Devil Winter Classic, Feb. 15-17. The Dawgs then will compete at the Bruin/Wave Invitational, March 1-3 in California before taking on the Juli Inkster Meadow Club Invitational, March 8-9. Up next was the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Maui, March 22-24, before the Silverado Showdown in Napa, April 5-7. To close the spring season, Washington competed at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque April 11-12 and the Pac-12 Championships at Stanford, April 23-25.