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Women's Golf Opens at USF Intercollegiate

Sep 11, 2022
Morgan Miller makes her collegiate debut Monday.

BOULDER –There won't be any easing into the season for the University of Colorado women's golf team. The Buffaloes are jumping right in.

"We're jumping in with both feet," Colorado head coach Anne Kelly said.

The Buffaloes begin their 29th season of varsity women's golf, without a senior in their opening tournament lineup, Monday, Sept. 12, at the 2022 University of San Francisco Intercollegiate and will do so facing some of the top teams in the country on one of the nation's best courses - The Olympic Club Ocean Course in San Francisco.

The tournament will consist of 54 holes with the first 36 coming on Monday. The Olympic Club Ocean Course will play as a par 71, with a length of 5,976 yards.

The tournament field is relatively small – only 10 teams participating – but it is power packed. UCLA and San Jose State are ranked No. 5 and No. 9 respectively in the Mizuno Women's Golf Coaches Association Preseason Polls and are coming off NCAA Championship appearances. Oregon State, California, BYU and Pepperdine all advanced to NCAA Regional competition last season.

"It will definitely be a challenge," said Kelly who begins her 26th season as Colorado's head coach. "You always want to challenge yourself and to play a course of that quality is just a great opportunity. It's a smaller field, but there are some very good and highly ranked teams there."

Junior Hailey Schalk, Colorado's stroke average leader last season at 74.7, is among the five traveling to San Francisco, but the remaining four will consist of two sophomores and a pair of true freshmen.

Morgan Miller and Makenzie Cooper jump right into the mix and are set to make their collegiate debuts. Cooper, from Litchfield Park, Ariz., won three junior championships this summer, including a 12-stroke win – shooting 9-under – at the Junior Golf Association of Arizona Ping Invitational. Miller a native of Cedar Park, Texas, is a two-time Colorado Junior Match Play champion and placed sixth at the 2022 Colorado Golf Association Women's Stroke Play in Erie this summer.

Miller will be Colorado's No. 1 golfer for this tournament after a seven-stroke win in team qualifying.

"Morgan is a very strong player and hits the ball a long way," Kelly said. "Like every freshman that comes in, she needs a little more course management, but she's played quite well (in qualifying), so you just never know. We're very excited for her."

Sophomores Lauren Gooding and Natalie Vo round out the Buffaloes' lineup. Gooding played in eight events as a redshirt freshman last season and had Colorado's best overall placing in any single tournament tying for third at the Golfweek Red Sky Classic.

Vo saw action in 11 tournaments last year – two as an individual. This summer she took co-medalist honors in the stroke play round of the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship in Bowling Green, Ky.

"We've had a couple very good weeks of practice," Kelly said. "We're going in with a very young squad; not a senior in the lineup. It will be interesting to see how the team performs, but they've been working hard. They seem very dedicated and enthusiastic. Golf is just so hard to predict, so we just have to take it one day and one shot at a time."

Monday's first round begins with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. MT. Four of Colorado's golfers will split into a pair of foursomes with four BYU student-athletes while a fifth will match up with golfers from BYU, Oregon State and Pepperdine. All golfers will begin Tuesday's final round on hole No. 1, with the first group scheduled for 9 a.m. MT.

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