The 2008-09 BYU women's golf team broke several school records and competed well at all of their events. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The 2008-09 BYU women’s golf team enjoyed a solid year in which multiple school records were broken and every member of the team improved with experience and knowledge of the game.
The Cougars performed well at several tournaments, including a third-place finish at the Pepperdine Spring Invitational, sixth place at their own BYU Dixie Classic and culminated the year with a fifth-place finish at the Mountain West Conference championship.
“I thought all year long we had steady play from our freshmen and senior Natalia Jimenez,” said head coach Sue Nyhus. “As a team we gained valuable experience that will prepare us for the future.”
The highlight of the year came at the Pepperdine Invitational, where BYU placed third at 19-over-par. Freshman Maggie Yuan and senior Natalia Jimenez had the best finishes of the year as both tied for second place at 4-under-par.
At the tournament, Jimenez shot a first-round score of 66, which broke the all-time BYU round low record of 67 held by All-American Pam Miller in 1978 and Rachel Newren and Ashley Childers at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate in 2006. Natalia finished the year with the best stroke average on the team (76.28), ranking 12th in the MWC.
Jimenez finished with six top-20 performances on the year, ending her BYU career with a total of 17. At the MWC championship, she placed 16th overall at 17-over-par.
Yuan also enjoyed a great year breaking BYU’s all-time freshman record for stroke average at 76.34, which ranked second on the team and 13th in the MWC. Her second-place finish at the Pepperdine Invitational and eighth-place ending to the UNLV Spring Invitational propelled her to MWC Player of the Month honors for the month of March.
She had two other top-20 events at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational and the BYU Dixie Classic.
“I thought those two rounds at Pepperdine were the highlight of the season,” Nyhus said. “They helped Maggie toward receiving the conference Player of the Month award in March.”
Sophomore Jade Bollinger played consistently throughout the year, finishing with the team’s third-best stroke average at 78.72. At the MWC championship, she placed seventh overall at 12-over-par by shooting a season-best round of 73 on the opening day.
Shayla Forsey, Camille Gardner and Sara Romero had opportunities to play in a number of tournaments during the year, while Staisha Stratton and Mercedes Chytraus competed in multiple events as individuals. Gardner and Forsey shot their season round lows of 70 and 71, respectively, at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, while Romero shot a round low of 74 in the opening round of the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic.
Freshman Amanda Keith was given the team’s Most Improved award, while Stratton and Bollinger were given the All-Around student-athlete awards. Jimenez and Yuan received the team’s Most Valuable Player honors.
The team finished with a 309.10 stroke average and 77.28 individual average. The team’s lowest round came at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic at 291 as they had six top-10 tournament finishes during the 2008-09 campaign.
“We had many opportunities for improvement during the year and gained a lot of valuable experience,” Nyhus said. “We played on different courses to gain familiarity with what approaches to take and played against strong competition to gauge where we are and where we would like to be.”