After overcoming a nine-stroke deficit, Cal Poly won a dramatic one-hole playoff against Hawaii to capture their second straight Big West Conference championship on Tuesday, Apr. 12 at the San Luis Obispo Country Club
With the victory, the Mustangs received an automatic postseason bid.
In the final three holes, Hawaii tallied three bogeys and 12 pars while the Mustangs posted one birdie, 14 pars and zero bogeys to make up a late four-stroke deficit.
“We knew today was going to be tough,” Cal Poly head coach Sofie Aagaard said to Cal Poly Athletics. “Hawaii is a strong team with great ball strikers, handling wind very well. I knew that they weren’t going to lose the championship. Instead, we had to perform well and win it.”
Hawaii held a nine-shot lead before ending the final six holes with nine bogeys, a double bogey and a triple bogey. During that time, Cal Poly carded three birdies and seven bogeys as they crept back into contention.
“Hole 14 was a big turning point for us,” Aagaard said. “We had some missed and lost shots coming to the last five holes…Hawaii had some big numbers and we got away with a couple of good scores.”
The Rainbow Wahine were four-over-par on that 14th hole with a double-bogey and a triple-bogey, while Cal Poly scored two pars and three bogeys for a three-over-par total.
Freshman Kaylyn Noh birdied the 17th hole and parred the 18th while Hawaii’s Momo Sugiyama bogeyed the 18th, making the teams tied.
Officially, Cal Poly and Hawaii share the conference title, but to determine the automatic qualifier for the NCAA playoffs, the 18th hole was played again.
On the extra hole, Noh and junior Jensen Jalufka carded birdies while senior Caroline Cantlay, senior Elizabeth Scholtes and freshman Kamille Dimayuga all posted pars for Cal Poly. Hawaii recorded two pars and three bogeys on the playoff hole, giving the Mustangs the 14-18 advantage and the win.
“The shot execution in the playoff and the putting was impeccable and so fun to see our players perform when it really mattered,” Aagaard said.
Noh’s first-place finish is Cal Poly’s second Big West individual title winner in women’s golf. Her 54-hole, even-par 216 aggregate bested UC Riverside’s Kate Villegas by three strokes.
“Kaylyn Noh winning the conference championship at home as a freshman was impressive,” Aagaard said. “Her competitiveness shone through in her performance in the last few holes.”
Noh and Cantlay were the two Mustangs named to the Big West All-Tournament team.
The regionals in the west will be hosted by Stanford and New Mexico from Monday, May 9 through Wednesday, May 11, while the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship will be hosted by Arizona State at the Grayhawk Golf Club’s Raptor Course from Friday, May 20 through Wednesday, May 25.