The BYU women’s golf team is poised for greatness this spring with a wealth of returning players and strong newcomers in its ranks.
The Cougars enter unchartered territory this season under interim head coach Robbie Bosco, a familiar name to BYU football fans as the quarterback of the 1984 National Championship team. Bosco was tapped to head the women’s golf program temporarily following fall competition. Bosco’s previous coaching experience includes a 13-year stint as the football team’s quarterbacks coach (1990-2003).
“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” said Bosco of his new coaching duties. “The transition has been pretty smooth. We have a great group of girls who are excited to get out there and show what they can do.”
In addition to a new head coach, BYU will have to adjust to the loss of Natalia Jimenez, who posted two of the top five individual season scoring averages in Cougar history. She compiled 17 top-20 finishes during her illustrious career and leaves large shoes to fill.
“The girls are definitely going to have to work hard, not just on the course but in their preparation and their mental games,” said Bosco. “You have to be willing to do things on your own, not just when the coaches are around.”
BYU will have plenty of talent to rely on this season from both veterans and newcomers.
Just one year removed from a standout freshman campaign, sophomore Maggie Yuan will be counted on to carry most of the load for the Cougars at the top. Yuan earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Month last March and had the second-best stroke average on the team despite her inexperience. She also posted four top-20 performances. In the fall, Yuan led the team in three events and notched two top-25 finishes while compiling a team-best stroke average of 76.07.
“Maggie is our No. 1 golfer going into this spring, and we’re really excited about her career,” said Bosco. “She has continued to show progress and earn her spot.”
Another young player will also be crucial to the Cougars’ success this spring as freshman Kelsey Vines is poised to repeat Yuan’s accomplishments from a year ago. Vines’ fall stroke average was second on the team and led to two top-30 finishes. She had a triumphant career at Dixie High School in St. George, Utah, prior to coming to BYU, finishing in the top five in the state individually all four years and helping her team win two state titles. Vines herself won the state crown as a senior.
“Kelsey is just a freshman, but she has been a great surprise so far,” said Bosco. “We knew she was a good golfer, but she has really stepped up. She will be vital to our success this spring and in the years beyond.”
The Cougars also have several other top golfers who will be counted on this season. Sophomore Amanda Keith had a solid summer with a ninth-place tie at the Utah State Amateur. She also competed on the NCAA All-Star Golf Tour, playing in tournaments in Japan, China and Korea.
Juniors Jade Bollinger and Sara Romero have two years’ experience under their belts and will be strong leaders both on and off the course. Fellow junior Emily Copier is a newcomer to the Cougars this year after transferring from Weber State, where she was named to the All-Big Sky Conference Second Team. She showed promise in the fall and should be a welcome addition.
BYU will also have two senior leaders in Camille Gardner and Shayla Forsey. Both have contributed to the Cougars’ success over their four-year careers and will be looking to end their BYU tenures in victory. Freshmen Annika Afoa and Jenteal Jackson along with sophomore Mercedes Chytraus Attig will also be expected to contribute.
“We have to make sure our fourth and fifth golfers are on top of their game,” said Bosco. “If we can play to our ability, we’ll have a pretty good season.”
Through consistent tournament performances and relying on both experience and fresh faces, the team hopes to make it to the postseason and play in the NCAA Regionals and beyond.
“We don’t want to just go to tournaments and show up to say we were there,” said Bosco. “This team has big goals. We want to put up some top-five finishes and do well at the Mountain West Conference Championship. We want to get this team in a position to be successful this year and in the years to come.”