Much like the men, the UC Irvine women's golf team is working through inconsistency through the first part of the season.
The Anteaters finished tied for ninth in the three-round Price's Give 'Em Five Intercollegiate at the New Mexico State Golf Course last week to go with sixth- and second-place finishes in their prior two fall tournaments. With one senior and junior respectively, UCI boasts a young team that is learning to play with one another and hone its course management.
Julie Brooks is in her sixth year as coach and says success will come with how her players deal with the little things: chipping, putting, knowing when to shoot at flags and when to stick to the middle of the green.
"We could have played a lot better [at New Mexico]," Brooks said. "Conditions were ideal and we didn't take advantage of that. We need to get off to better starts.
"We're striking the ball really well, so we have to take advantage of that by improving our short game and putting."
UCI had eight three-putts among two players during the first round in New Mexico.
The 'Eaters have had bright spots so far. Freshman Sarah Baek tied for third in her first collegiete tournament (the Wolf Pack Classic in Nevada). She finished one-over-par for three rounds and opened with a three-under 69.
Senior Lalita Patipaksiri shot rounds of 73 and 72, sandwiched between an 80 in New Mexico. But Brooks said she is striking the ball good to go with an above-average short game. Sophomore Ronnie Valerio is also striking the ball well, Brooks said.
It sounds from Brooks that the travel squad is wide open. She said a factor in who will be playing tournaments could hinge on which players set goals and chart out a course of how to achieve them. The same could be said for a career search.
Best-selling author Stephen Covey said, "Begin with the end in mind." There is still plenty of time for UCI. They play in the Las Vegas Collegiate Oct. 24-26 at Boulder Creek Golf Club to wrap up the fall season. The 'Eaters will have the winter to work and resume play come February.
"Vegas will be a true test for where we stand," Brooks said.
She said the field has Oklahoma, which won September's Golfweek Conference Challenge, UC Davis, Cal State Long Beach and San Diego State. Brooks said the key will be for the team to not dig itself too deep a hole early on.
"There's a tremendous amount of potential. We'll try to get things worked out around the greens."
Isn't it the truth that the difference in golf can be a three-footer for par?
BRYCE ALDERTON is the golf writer for the Daily Pilot. He can be reached at email@example.com