The Cal Poly men’s and women’s golf teams compete from September through May, but the bulk of their season is under way as spring approaches.
Head coach Scott Cartwright, who’s in his 10th season with the Mustangs — eighth with both the men’s and women’s teams — said his players are capable of putting up good scores, but as a team, the pieces are still coming together.
“We’ve got a great group of men and women, just need to put up some better numbers,” he said. “They’ve played pretty well in spurts, just haven’t been able to sustain for 18 holes.”
Last month, Cartwright and the men’s team traveled to St. George, Utah, where they tied for third in the Pat Hicks Invitational.
Cartwright said he is stretched thin even at the tournaments, where he checks in with players periodically as they play out their scattered rounds.
“It’s not like basketball where they’re right in front of you,” he said. “These guys are spread out over 200 acres sometimes, and you can’t be right there with each of them at the same time.”
Cal Poly is looking to rebuild its men’s team after graduating Geoff Gonzalez — the only Mustang to qualify for the NCAA National Golf Championships — and standout sophomore Pace Johnson, who transferred to Cal.
“We’re a little behind the eight ball,” he said. “We’re basically a non-scholarship sport for the men’s team, so these guys are playing because they want to play golf and go to school.”
At its most recent tournament in Palm Desert, Calif., the team finished eighth out of 22 teams. Junior Scott Patterson shot a team-best 217 in the three-rounds tournament for the Mustangs, finishing 27th out of a field of more than 120.
Patterson said the youthful team is well on its way to finding its rhythm, but patience is the key to success.
“In golf at the collegiate level, everyone is pretty damn good,” he said. “Winning a tournament requires hard work and dedication to the intangibles — the little things.”
According to Patterson, golf, an individual sport, is sometimes difficult to play as a team with five different athletes in different mindsets, but the team spends a lot of time together both on and off the course.
The Cal Poly women’s team finished in the middle of the pack at the Folino Invitational in City of Industry, Calif., but the young squad — all but two of whom are sophomores — won its previous tournament at the Super San Diego Championship in early February.
Sophomores Asia Adell and Taylor Yoshitake tied for 12th in the Folino Invitational and are consistently the top performers since joining the Mustangs last year.
Adell said she and the team set high goals for this season and are looking forward to getting better as they near the Big West Conference tournament in April, which will be held at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
“Overall, strength and conditioning, mental game and then our practices with coach, that all goes to help improve our scoring average,” Adell said. “Now that we know we can win, hopefully that will last us to conference and beyond.”