Courtesy of Bob Solorio/Sac State Athletics
The Sacramento State women’s golf team continued from where it left off a season ago after winning the Big Sky Conference and advancing to NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2007.
The Hornets returned four of its five starters, and they aim to make it past regionals, sophomore Nishtha Madan said.
In three tournaments this season, the Hornets finished second in the nine-team Cougar Cup (Sept. 18-19) and 13th in the 18-team Golfweek Conference Challenge (Sept. 25-27) before winning the 10-team Aggie Invitational (Oct. 9-11) by 20 strokes.
The Hornets are led by sophomore Sofie Babic who leads the team with an average round of 73.22. However, in the final round, her average score dropped to 71.7.
“The more rounds you play, the better you get,” Babic said. “But I am also a person that will step it up at the end of the tournament.”
In the final round of the Cougar Cup, Babic shot a 72 and moved up five spots in the standings to finish in a tie for second. At the Aggie Invitational, she again shot a 72 and moved up to third place with four players being within two shots of her.
“Her performance says it all,” Nishtha said. “She is a really strong golfer.”
Nishtha had the lowest score on the team in the difficult Golfweek Conference Challenge in Wolcott, Colorado. While the team finished 13th, it was against a field that included Arizona, Louisville and Michigan.
“I feel that the field at regionals was a bit stronger, but this was a close comparison to that,” said senior Astha Madan, who has the second lowest average score on the team.
The course in Wolcott was hilly and windy, and it had similar conditions to what the Hornets faced in the postseason last year, and what they are likely to face again, Nishtha said. Despite the conditions, all five golfers had at least one round that lowered their average.
Sac State junior Julia Becker, who won a tournament and tied for another win a season ago, has an average round of 75.11 this year. However, that score is slightly deceiving. Prior to the last tournament, she averaged a 74.33 before recording scores of 79 and 80 to raise her average. Then, in the third round, she showed why she was named first-team Big Sky a season ago by shooting a 71.
The fifth starter on an already young team is Corinne Viden, a freshman from Sweden. In three career matches, she has finished in the top 10 twice and has a scoring average of 74.78, which is third on the team.
“Corinne has been a great freshman,” Astha said. “She is a really strong golfer who has embraced being here, and she is just as motivated as the rest of the team.”
Babic added that Viden brings a lot of energy to the team.
“I’m obviously very happy with how we have played,” Babic said. “Everyone, as individuals, has improved. Our worst round is not as bad as it had been last season.”
Sac State will play in its final match of the fall season starting on Tuesday at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Oahu, Hawaii. The Hornets will be looking to defend the title that they won last season by seven strokes before taking a break until February.