Nichols keeps cool under pressure

Clifton Jones

Sacramento State women’s golf has an athlete who has outshone the other golfers not only in per-round average, but the third round average as well.

Junior San Jose State transfer Tiffany Nichols has come into a leading role for the Hornets.

Although Nichols is not the team captain, she has helped lead the team with her ability to play well for the Hornets. Nichols’ 73.8 third round scoring average leads the team by 3.8 strokes over sophomore golfer Sagee Palavivatana.

“Tiffany is a good player and is playing as solid as I know she could play,” women’s golf head coach David Sutherland said. “She has played well because her putting and mental toughness has fallen into place in order to be as successful this season.”

Recently, Nichols has been clutch in the third round of the tournaments this season, which has helped her to two top-10 finishes.

Nichols’ first top-10 came in the Firestone Grill College Invitational where she placed tied for third, and her second top-10 finish came recently in the Folino Invitational when she tied for ninth for the tournament.

“Her maturity has showed so far this season in how well she is playing all of her rounds,” Sutherland said.  

Nichols has been one of the steadiest golfers on the team this season. In all three rounds her scoring average per round is 76.76, which is one of the best per-round scores on the team.

“I am in an environment now at Sac State that allows me to play to my capabilities, because I was not getting that at San Jose,” Nichols said.

Sutherland said he was pretty lucky in getting Nichols here at Sac State as a transfer. Sutherland originally recruited Nichols when she was a senior in high school.

“I was hoping to coach her right out of high school but I am glad I get to coach her for two years,” Sutherland said.

Although Nichols is leading the team in scoring, Sutherland wants her to focus on getting better everyday.

“I think it’s great she is leading the team in scoring,” Sutherland said. “I don’t believe and don’t want Tiffany to think she has to be a team leader or captain on the team.”

Sutherland said Nichols has earned the respect from her teammates because of her success not only on the golf course but in the classroom as well.

Nichols didn’t work on anything too much in the off-season before the fall season, except to work on her mental toughness.

Nichols said she looks back on a period where she felt like the Spartan golf team environment was not beneficial for her.

“I was not shooting good scores as a Spartan,” Nichols said. “That is when I decided to make a change toward a better place for me to be the player I know I am capable of being.”

Sutherland said he has enjoyed the contributions Nichols has brought to the team this season.

“Tiffany gives us more experience to our team, because she is one of the most experienced players that have played for us this season,” Sutherland said.

Nichols’ ability to perform well this season is because Sutherland says she doesn’t have to worry about doing too much to help her team except to just play golf.

“We have a deep team and that is what our strength of our team,” Sutherland said. “So we haven’t had to lean on Tiffany too much this season.”

Nichols has flourished under the direction of Sutherland in her first year and hopefully the next year as Hornet. Nichols has finally found her home as a Hornet at Sac State.


Clifton can be reached on Twitter at @jonesSHsports