Along with Taylor Yoshitake, senior Morgan Thomas (above) shot a team-leading 12-over par at the Big West Women’s Golf Championship to help Cal Poly finish fifth overall. | Photo courtesy of Big West Conference

Lisa Diaz

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Tears were flowing when Cal Poly golfer Taylor Yoshitake walked into the clubhouse from the 18th hole at the San Luis Obispo Country Club on Tuesday afternoon. For the senior, the Big West Conference Women’s Golf Championship marked the end of her collegiate career.

“It’s the end of my college golf career, but it’s not the end of my golf career,” Yoshitake said. ”I’m turning pro in the summer. I’m just taking away everything I learned here and moving to the next step. Everything is more intense and all the shots I had to play here, they’re going to be important for other courses and the intensity of the tournament is a good learning experience.”

Yoshitake ended her last Big West championship tied for 13th, posting scores of 79, 75 and 77 throughout the three-day tournament. The senior said one of her biggest takeaways from playing at San Luis Obispo Country Club was improving her putting game.

“Everything about this course is about your second shot to the pin and your putting,” Yoshitake said. “I think definitely on this course, you have to have a lot of respect for the greens.”

Both Yoshitake and senior teammate Morgan Thomas were the highest finishers for the Mustangs with 231 total strokes as Cal Poly finished fifth as a team.

Martina Edberg also had tears in her eyes as she walked off the green after sinking a birdie putt the final hole.

For the freshman from Cal State Fullerton, her top finish of 217 total strokes over the three rounds on the par-73 course was just the beginning of her college career and her time in the United States, as she recently came from Sweden in August.

“First you’re nervous, then all of a sudden everything drops,” Edberg said about her final putt. “And you just get a recap of everything you’ve done through the past year and everything you’ve put into this game.”

Edberg fought and came from behind to beat Cal State Northridge’s Clariss Guce, who had the best single round throughout the tournament when she shot a 4-under 69 on Monday.

“Yesterday, I got really nervous at the end because I was 3-under,” Edberg said. “And then I came in at par today, so when I made a couple birdies, I just managed to stay calm and trust my routine.”

UC Davis won the team title for the fifth straight year with a total score of 895, followed by Cal State Northridge (911) and Long Beach State (922).

“They’re a good team, let’s face it,” Cal Poly head coach Scott Cartwright said about UC Davis’ title win streak. “They’re not ranked in the top-50 every year because they’re not, not good. They play well, and they’re very experienced golfers outside of the college ranks, which makes a difference as well.”

Cal Poly finished fifth out of the eight Big West teams with a total score of 931 strokes, but Cartwright said the team played well under the tough and ever-changing weather conditions.

“Rebuild,” Cartwright said about the goals for next year. “We’ve got five freshman girls coming in next year since I graduate six girls this year, but the women’s game is getting deeper, and I don’t think we’ll skip a beat going into next year.”

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