Squad hopes to remain strong through second half of season

Aaron Park

The girls’ golf players said their first victory was a learning experience. After two games, they had a strong start. After three, they were on a winning streak.

Next up was the mid-season tournament, in which they pulled away for from the competition to finish in first place. Then came consecutive victories against second-place Notre Dame and Marymount.

The 5-0 squad entered their Tuesday match against the Marlborough, the defending champions, with one more epithet to its name: Undefeated.

The team is no stranger to hot starts. Last year, they started the season with four consecutive victories, but suffered a close loss to Marlborough shortly after the mid-season tournament.

“The Marlborough match was in the rain, and it was a rough one because it was raining really hard and it only went on for five holes,” Josie Baker ’18 said. “Our goal this year is to not get overconfident, to stay focused on our process and follow through with what we weren’t able to follow through with last year.”

The players’ more disciplined mindset has become apparent in their play this year, Program Head Marge Chamberlain said.

“I think the biggest thing that’s changed is that the girls believe in themselves,” Chamberlain said. “Golf is a mental game more than anything. They all have very good skill sets. Everybody on the squad has good skill sets, but it’s all about mental resiliency- that’s what we try to coach them into.”

Going into their contest against Marlborough, the team said they refused to allow the match’s importance affect its approach. They didn’t let the pressure of remaining undefeated rattle them. Mentally, they were calm and listened to what their coaches taught them to do.

“Every match is just as important as another, so we try our best in every single one to do as well as possible,” Daisy Wan ’20 said.

Chamberlain models her team’s poised and leveled approach off of the basketball teams of UCLA’s legendary Head Coach of the fifties, sixties and early seventies, John Wooden. Much like those players maintained humble composure, Chamberlain said she takes pride in her players’ balance and poise as they rack up win after win.

“I think the girls know how to get it done,” Chamberlain said. “Last year, I think that the pressure got to them, and I think that they’d all say that about it. I think the best way to put it is that they’re just taking care of business.”

For the past few matches, the underclassmen have played a pivotal role in the team’s success. Wan, a freshman, has proven herself to be an important factor of the team and makes a great impact.

“Daisy [Wan] is exceptional; there’s no question about it,” Chamberlain said. “She strikes the ball well, she putts well and  she plays a lot of tournament golf. I mean, Karina [Guo ’18] and Josie [Baker ’18] entered as freshmen, and they played good golf as well. They were shooting par and under par as well.”

Wan, meanwhile, credits her teammates for welcoming her and helping her improve as a golfer.

“Everyone on the team is really supportive,” Wan said. “It’s not like ‘Oh, you’re a freshman.’ They actually really welcome you, and it’s really nice.”

Make no mistake, though; the team’s balanced mentality has not undermined its confidence to win.

“In previous years, we’ve made it through to the CIF regionals, which is the round after league, and I think this year it’s a good goal for us to get one step further than that, to see how far we can take it in the playoffs,” Baker said. “I think we have a really strong team this year, and we definitely have the potential to make it through the playoffs and, who knows, maybe even state.