Cal Poly Women’s Golf captured their first tournament championship of the season in the Battle at Old Works Sept. 16-17 in Anaconda, Mont. Junior Madi Daniel recorded a third-place finish with a two-over-par, 54-hole aggregate of 218 while three other Mustangs finished in the top 10. The tournament saw ten teams and 62 golfers compete on the 6,297-yard, par-72 Old Works Golf Club.
The championship victory comes just one week after the Mustangs claimed 4th place in a field of 17 teams at the Hobble Creek Fall Classic.
“The big picture from a coaching standpoint is seeing that every one of the five players in the lineup contributed to the team score,” head coach Sofie Aagaard said. “We have the depths and the line-up to see that everyone can put up a low score.”
Cal Poly dominated Old Works from the start and gained a six-stroke lead in the first round alone with a four-person score of 288. Freshman Jensen Jalufka kicked off her first collegiate event with a round of 71 while junior Caroline Cantlay and Daniel posted rounds of 72. Daniel and Jalufka followed up with scores of 74 in the afternoon.
“That’s obviously very encouraging to have the new players come in and make a statement right away and continue to push and compete with the team,” Aagaard said.
Cal Poly concluded the 36-hole day in first-place with a nine-over-par aggregate of 585. The performance granted the Mustangs a four-stroke lead over second-place Eastern Washington with one final round left to play.
However, the sunny high of 85 degrees on Monday dropped to a windy and rainy 47 degrees into Tuesday morning. Aagaard said the team anticipated the weather change and talked about retaining a good attitude in advance.
“We know often there’s a lot of players who don’t like to play in poor conditions, and you’ll pretty much be a stroke up on them if you just come out with a good attitude and attack it,” Aagaard said.
The program’s positive mindset paid off as the Mustangs continued to dominate in the last round of the tournament. Daniel led the team again with a final round of 72 while Cantlay followed with a score of 75. Jalufka’s final round of 77 placed the freshman at sixth-place individually with a 222 aggregate. Sophomore Vanessa Wang finished in a tie for eighth place just one stroke behind Cantlay.
The Mustangs four-person score of 300 in the final round granted the team a three-stroke victory over Eastern Washington as the tournament concluded. Eastern Washington’s Madalyn Ardueser took home first-place individually after posting dominant rounds of 71, 70 and 69 for a six-under-par total of 210.
Aagaard said a key to this team’s success is not only their ability to play for each other, but their balance of shot selection as well.
“I think this team is doing a good job in realizing more and more when it’s worth being aggressive and when it’s worth just laying back and saving a stroke for the team,” Aagaard said.
The Mustangs will return to competition Sept. 28-29 at the Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate in Palm Desert, Calif. And while Aagaard said the team continues to get better every day, the ultimate goal is to make postseason play and take home a Big West Conference title.
“We’ve talked a lot about learning to compete to win and having the mindset of, ‘Hey, we can win this week, how are we going to do it? Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there to compete for the trophy,’” Aagaard said.