Sac State women’s golf team ranked as 17th seed in NCAA regional tournament

Regionals will be played at Stanford on May 10


Deanna Sanchez

Sac State freshman Jennifer Koga practices putting at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex on March 17, 2020. Koga was +18 for the Big Sky Tournament but had a much-improved final round, shooting a 4-over 76 and helping the Hornets clinch the Big Sky Conference Championship.

Brandon Bailey

After coming off of a major win in the Big Sky Tournament, Sacramento State’s women’s golf intends to keep the momentum going as they travel to Stanford for the first round of the NCAA Division I golf tournament. 

Sac State was ranked as the 17th seed in the Stanford regional site. The key for them at regionals will be staying competitive and getting off to a good start early according to coach David Sutherland. 

Sutherland said that they are familiar with the competition and have competed against at least two thirds of the field in their region, including teams like Stanford, San Jose State, and Cal Poly. 

“You got to play good, it’s simple,” said Sutherland. “You want to get out in front, it’s hard to chase when you’re going against a good team. We’ve played Stanford six times this year in six rounds of golf and we beat them once. We need to do that in the first round.”

The Hornets will be counting on strong performances from their young core who has already accomplished a lot in their first season at Sac State. The Hornets are led by Big Sky Conference Player of the Year and Freshman Player of the Year Jennifer Koga, along with with freshman Tess Blair who recently just became the first medalist for the Hornets at the Big Sky Tournament since 2007 with a score of 74-69-72 in three rounds for a total score of 215. 

Blair said she believes that the team can beat anyone if they play their best game. She emphasized the importance of playing under pressure in a tournament where they will be facing some of the best competition that they have played against all season. 

“I think that it was close for us in conference,” Blair said. “When you look back at the score the last three holes we only had a one stroke lead and we were able to play under that pressure and come ahead, and I think that being able to play under some pressure and find success is going to come in handy at the regionals coming up.”

Sac State’s roster is loaded with young talent, but they will be led by returning sophomore Sydney Smith, who is one of the two Hornets that have already experienced playing in regionals prior to this season. 

The team plans on playing with the same confidence that they had from the Big Sky tournament and translating it onto the green at regionals according to Smith. 

“Our conference course was very hard, so I think Stanford will be just as hard or even harder,” Smith said. “Winning the Big Sky, which was a hard course, shows that we are able to manage our courses and we can play consistently through different holes.” 

The Hornets come into this tournament as an underdog, ranking as the 17th seed out of 18 teams. Sutherland said that if they play fearless, anything can happen, and there’s no reason to believe just because of a ranking they have prior to the tournament that they will end up with a certain expected result. 

“We’re going to respect everyone on the field but we don’t want to be afraid of anybody,” Sutherland said. “From my perspective that’s the most important thing. There is no guarantee to who those six teams are that will get through this region, believe me.”  

Regionals are set to tee off Monday, May 10 as the Hornets plan to keep their momentum rolling from the Big Sky Tournament and make a run to be one of the six teams who will face off for the National championship in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 21.