BYU women's golf 2015-16 season review
PROVO, Utah — After winning its first West Coast Conference championship and reaching the Division I NCAA Championships, No. 37 BYU women’s golf 2015-16 season has come to a close.
The 2015-16 season proved to be one of the most successful years in program history as the Cougars won four regular season tournaments, a conference championship and took a trip to the NCAA Championships.
BYU also garnered multiple conference honors. Head coach Carrie Roberts was named WCC Coach of the Year, while Rose Huang received Player of the Year and Co-Freshman of the Year honors. Lea Garner, Kendra Dalton and Huang were named to the All-WCC first team.
The Cougars began their season in September, competing in the Ptarmigan Ram Classic. Shooting 12-over-par through 54 holes, BYU women’s golf won its first tournament of the year. Alexandra White picked up where she left off last season, placing fourth individually in the tournament, while freshman Huang placed fifth in her first collegiate event.
“Winning our first event gave us a lot of confidence,” Roberts said. “The win helped us know that we could compete in every tournament we played in.”
The WCC champs would go on to place first in two more tournaments in the fall alone: The Aggie Invitational and the Rainbow Wahine Invitational. Three Cougars placed in the top-5 at the Aggie Invitational, with White and Dalton tying for second place. Huang took fourth place individually.
“We knew we’d be good team, and our tournament wins showed us just how good we were,” Roberts said.
In late October, Huang took home medalist honors at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational. The freshman placed first, shooting 5-under-par for the tournament. Dalton also shot a season-low 65 in the third round.
As a team, BYU tallied nine top-10 and eight top-5 individual finishes in the Fall 2015 campaign.
“We have a very talented team,” Roberts said. “Everyone’s skills are a little different and everyone brings something different to the team.”
BYU women’s golf began the spring 2016 campaign at The Gold Rush in Seal Beach, California. The Cougars placed fifth out of 15 teams, shooting 29-over-par for the event. White tied for fifth as an individual, shooting two-under-par in the first round of the event.
In March, the Cougars won the BYU at Entrada Classic for their fourth tournament victory of the year. Garner had her most successful individual finish yet, placing third.
BYU would then travel to Texas to participate in the Texas Tech Red Raider Invite before heading to Danville, California to compete in the WCC Championships. Shooting 20-over-par through three rounds, the Cougars took the WCC Championship, putting an end to Pepperdine’s 14-year win streak.
“It was awesome to put an end to Pepperdine’s streak,” Roberts said. “I think everyone dreamed about knocking them off. Kudos to Pepperdine; they helped us get a lot better.”
All BYU players placed in the top-20, with Garner and Huang tying for second place individually at 3-over-par.
“We knew that Pepperdine was the team to beat, and we knew that if we just put down some decent scores, we could do it,” Garner added.
The WCC champion Cougars went on to place sixth in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. With the top-6 finish, BYU qualified for the NCAA Finals in Eugene, Oregon in stunning fashion as Garner birdied the last hole, sealing the team’s fate.
BYU then advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time since the 2006-07 season and finished with a 34-over-par performance.
Besides the sheer and obvious talent of this year’s squad, the Cougars' success also stemmed from the unity and friendship the girls shared. Roberts attributed much of the team’s success to its hard work and unity, along with the leadership of captains Carly Oldroyd and Garner.
“The friendships that the girls share made this year special,” Roberts said. “Their positivity and the hard work they put in united the team. With well-respected captains like Lea and Carly, it was easy for the girls to go to work. They didn’t want to let their captains down.”
The nationally ranked Cougars will lose seniors Garner and Oldroyd in the 2016-17 season. Both have played pivotal roles as members of the BYU women’s golf team. As 2015-16 team captains, the senior duo set the tone for the season.
“It will be hard to not see Carly and Lea there next season,” Roberts said. “Both have done so much for this program. Not only are they great golfers, but also they are wonderful people and leaders. They are one of the biggest reasons for where we are today.”