Season-Best Round Places UW Second After Day One At Gunrock
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Bolstered by a season-best team performance in the second round, the Washington women's golf team wrapped up day one at the Gunrock Invitational in second place overall, with three individuals among the top 12.
The Huskies shot a 12-under 276 in the second of the day's two rounds at Del Paso CC, the best score of the round among the 11 teams competing, and finished the day 16-under overall, behind only No. 1-ranked Stanford. The third and final round gets underway Tuesday morning.
"It was really nice to see, because we feel like we're a better team than we've showed," said UW head coach Mary Lou Mulflur. "I'm happy for the team. The effort they've been putting in is starting to pay off."
The Huskies' second round was, by far, the best team round of the 2021-22 season, both in gross score and strokes under par. Stanford, with the top-two individuals on the leaderboard, leads the tournament with a 34-under 542, while Iowa State sits third, 10 strokes back of UW, at 6-under.
Sophomore Stefanie Deng shot two rounds in the 60s to finish the day in third place overall at 7-under while freshman Kennedy Knox tied the lowest round of the year by any Husky with a 6-under 66 in the second round. She's tied for 12th overall at 2-under, while sophomore Camille Boyd (-3) enters the final round in 11th place.
"Stef's been working hard, and it's great to see her play so well because she is so talented," Mulflur noted. "She could've scored lower. She was burning edges all day."
Washington completed the first round with a team score of 4-under 284, which put them in a tie for second place alongside Iowa State. The 4-under round was the best of the season for the Huskies, a benchmark that was smashed later in the day.
Deng, who was the top UW finisher earlier this month at The Show at Spanish Trail, turned in the best first-round score among the five UW golfers. She made an eagle, three birdies and just one bogey to score a 4-under 68, which left her in a tie for fourth place after 18 holes. Her 4-under score was tied for the second best of the year by any Husky to that point.
Freshman Jenny Chang, making her debut as Husky, carded a 1-under 71, thanks to three birdies and two bogies. She began her first collegiate round with a birdie 4 on her opening hole (she teed off on No. 1 in the shotgun start). Her 71 tied her for 15th place after one round.
"I couldn't be more happy for Jenny on her first collegiate competition," Mulflur added. "She was steady all day, and it's a big deal – playing 36 holes in one day can be a grind."
Brittany Kwon began her opening round on No. 4, and made double-bogey 7, but then birdied two of the next four holes to get back to even. She had one birdie and one bogey on the back nine to finish the first round with a 72, tied for 23rd place. Boyd shot a 1-over 73 and Knox scored a 4-over 76 in the first round.
In the afternoon, the Huskies put pulled away from all but Stanford, shaving nine strokes off of their previous round. Knox led the way, recording seven birdies on her way to her 66. Deng had four birdies and just one bogey to shoot a 69, while Boyd was 4-under for the round, good for a 68.
Meawhile, Kwon scored 1-over 73 to finish the day 1-over and in 29th place, while Chang was 1-over with a 73 in her second round, leaving her even and tied for 22nd for the tournament.
"The biggest thing is that they all stayed patient – all five of them," Mulflur said. "Brittany had a tough start, and ended up playing solid the rest of the way. Camille did too, but she stayed patient and didn't get discouraged. Same with Kennedy. I think she was 5-over for her first nine holes and then 7-under over her last 27.
"The team energy is awesome," Mulflur concluded. "They're calm, focused, cheering each other on and having a good time."
The tournament concludes Tuesday with the third round, when gets underway with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. PT.
NOTE: This story was edited after a change was made to one UW player's score, after the story had been posted.