Huskies Break Through 31-Year Fog To Win
Oct. 10, 2012
SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- Finally. After 31 long years of hosting the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, the Washington Huskies can say they are team champions of the tournament.
The Huskies and the rest of the 16-team field had to wait out a two hour fog delay that forced Wednesday's final round a Sahalee Country Club into a shotgun format. When the fog had lifted and the dust had settled, Washington claimed a 14-shot win over UC Davis.
"I am speechless," was the reaction from Coach Mary Lou Mulflur, who is in her 30th year of leading Washington. "I am just so proud of the team."
Despite the large final margin of victory, the Huskies nearly let the win slip away. The team played like they were still in a fog, combining to shoot 19-over on the front. After six holes of play, the Huskies' eight-shot advantage entering the final round evaporated into a four-shot deficit.
The alarms must have gone off in the Huskies' heads, though, as they woke up on the back nine and shot four-over.
"We got off to a tough start today," Mulflur said. "You kind or get thrown for a loop when the weather changes with a delay. We were hurting early, but they just rallied and played that back side tough again, just like they did yesterday."
Even more impressively, the Huskies won without one of their best player in the lineup.
Sophomore SooBin Kim shot 82 in a team qualifier on Saturday at Sahalee and was left off the five-man squad. It didn't seem to affect her at all though, as she competed as an individual and shot 71-67-67 to set a new tournament record with 11-under 205. The 12-stroke victory gave her the second win of her college career.
"It was really devastating to shoot 82 and not make the team," said Kim, the third Husky individual to win the tournament; the first since Dodie Mazzuca in 1996.
"The coaches were with me after the round comforting me. They still gave me the courage to play - more like more like they believed in me. They wanted me to learn from this experience and turn it around and just work on my game. (The whole week) made me stronger and I can never exchange this experience for anything."
The win also showed Mulflur and the rest of the nation the quality of Husky team. This fall, the Huskies have won twice and finished second in three tournaments, compiling a combined 43-1 record against opponents.
"They are good," Mulflur said about her Huskies, now ranked third by Golfstat.com and No. 1 by Golfweek.com. "But, they also want to get better and they know they can. Some of them didn't have their best days today, but the thing is we have that depth and they pick each other up.
"To be able to have that depth; it is just a good feeling for all of them to know that on any given day they can contribute."
Among the five-man UW squad, freshman Ying Luo had the best day. The walk-on from China shot 1-under 71 and ended up tied for 8th at 7-over 223.
Fellow freshman Charlotte Thomas had the best tournament among the counting scores. She shot 73 to end tied for second at 1-over 217.
"To see two freshmen step up like they did today -- neither one of them got off to a particularly good start -- but they just grinded and battled. If that is any indication of what we have to look forward to, we are going to have some fun," Mulflur said.
Sophomore Cyd Okino had a stellar tournament, ending up sixth out of 83 competitors. She entered the final day even, but shot 5-over 77 to finish at 221.
Sophomore Jennifer Yang shot a non-counting 83. She still ended up tied for 19th at 229.
Junior captain Kelli Bowers shot 79 and ended up tied for 25th.
Bowers, who has been battling a bad back this fall, was very impressed with her team's performance this week. And like her coach, was nearly speechless at by the play of her team.
"It is hard to put into words," she said. "People can't see what we go through every day. To do it in front of Edean and our coaches; it just is hard to put into words, but it is just super special."
Former Husky coach and the tournament's namesake Edean Ihlanfeldt was on hand to watch all three days. She must have liked what she saw, as she lingered long after the tournament ended for a celebration in the clubhouse with family and friends.
The Huskies return to action Oct. 19-21 for the Stanford Intercollegiate. The rest of the field had better watch out; Kim is the reigning tournament champion and is obviously riding a hot streak.