Coming off a first-place performance, the Washington women’s golf team has a quick turnaround as it will take the road again, this time to the Arizona desert.
The Huskies earned their second first-place finish of the 2016-17 season in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last weekend at the Hawkeye El Tigre Invitational. Led by freshman Ellen Takada, who finished in second place after shooting 1-under 215, Washington shot the lowest round of the tournament on the final day of competition. Its 8-under 280 round on Tuesday moved the UW from third place back to first.
Washington will face even tougher competition this weekend, as there was only one ranked opponent in the field in Mexico. The host team, No. 5 Arizona State, will host 13 other schools, including No. 15 Baylor and No. 17 Arizona.
The 2017 PING/ASU Invitational will be held at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe. Three rounds will be played over the span of three days at the par-72, 6,223-yard course.
Washington will likely bring along sophomores Julianne Alvarez, Sarah Rhee, and Wenyung Keh, as well as freshman Karen Miyamoto, to join Takada on the five-woman roster.
The UW won’t be the only team coming in with strong momentum. ASU is coming off a title win of its own after a first-place finish (26-under 838) at the Clover Cup on March 17-19. It was the Sun Devils’ fifth top-three finish of the season. Compared to the two top-three finishes Washington earned, it will have to steadily record low scores in order to best ASU.
The two other ranked opponents also pose threats. In Baylor’s last outing, it tied for third in par-5 shooting at 10-under, averaging 4.83 strokes. If the Huskies can repeat their par-5 performance in Mexico, this should make for some tight scoring as they averaged a tenth higher at 4.85 strokes per hole.
Fellow Pac-12 foe and ASU’s in-state rival, Arizona, is coming off three consecutive top finishes. The Wildcats tied for third (11-over 875) at the All-State Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Championship; the UW finished tied for seventh at that same tournament. The Wildcats earned a first-place finish (14-under 850) at the Mountain View Collegiate, and most recently won three of four match play rounds at the SDSU March Mayhem.
Arizona also has an arsenal of top performers as sophomore Haley Moore and senior Wanasa Zhou took home the individual titles in the Wildcats’ previous two stroke-play tournaments.
Play will begin at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and Sunday’s start time will be 7:30 a.m.
Reach reporter Alexis Mansanarez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @almansanarez