The goal in college golf is to peak in May, and Washington women’s coach Mary Lou Mulflur thinks her team can do that, beginning Monday in the Cle Elum Regional at Tumble Creek Club.
Eighteen teams will be vying for six spots into the NCAA championships that begin May 17 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Washington, ranked No. 19 in the country, is the No. 5 seed in the Cle Elum Regional. The top seed is USC, the No. 1 ranked team in the country. Other top teams in the field include No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 16 Northwestern and No. 23 Miami.
UW comes off a fifth-place finish in the Pac-12 championships, in which it got better each round.
“I think that was the first time we played the same lineup two tournaments in a row,” Mulflur said.
That lineup has been settled on with seniors Wenyung Keh, Julianne Alvarez and Sarah Rhee being joined by junior Alice Duan and sophomore Rino Sasaki. The three seniors helped UW win the national title as freshmen.
Mulflur had more depth this season than she is accustomed to, which afforded her the opportunity to try several different combinations. Now that the coaches have settled on one, she believes the team is ready to play its best.
Playing at Tumble Creek should be a big advantage for UW, with the team playing there each year in its annual retreat, then getting another tuneup there a couple of weeks ago.
The most important goal in the regional is being one of the six teams, “but you’re trying to win every tournament,” Mulflur said.
A regional was last played at Tumble Creek in 2014, and like this year, top-ranked USC was the favorite.
The Trojans won, holding off the Huskies by one shot.
This year’s three-round, 54-hole tournament ends Wednesday.