Oregon women’s golf wrapped up its fall season on Oct. 25, finishing fourth out of 12 teams at the Nanea Pac-12 Preview. That mark is much improved from last season when the Ducks finished second to last at Nanea.
While this fall has not been perfect, Oregon has shown flashes of brilliance over the first half of their season.
Last fall, Oregon finished ranked 40th in the country by golfstat.com. It currently ranks 43rd nationally, but the team feels like they are in a better position now than they were at the end of Fall last year.
“I definitely feel that we ended [fall] on a high note,” Oregon assistant coach Laura Cilek said.
The Ducks had a promising start to their season, finishing third in the Red Raider Invitational and second in the East-West Match Play, their first two tournaments of the season.
But they struggled over their next two, the Windy City Challenge and the Greenville Regional Preview, finishing ninth on both occasions out of 14 and 16 teams, respectively.
Other than those two “hiccups,” Cilek has liked what she’s seen from this team. She said that fall is a “growing time” and while the results weren’t always what they wanted, the team still gained valuable experience.
Head coach Ria Scott structured Oregon’s fall schedule around regional sites that the Ducks could find themselves playing on come the postseason.
“We are trying to see as many regional sites as possible,” Scott said at the start of the season. “I don’t want to blindside our team with any conditions we haven’t seen before. … That’s the method to my madness.”
Oregon has made the postseason during every year of Scott’s tenure, so you could say that approach has worked. And it looks like it is still working.
“I feel like we just gained a lot of experience this fall season,” sophomore Kathleen Scavo said. “We learned a lot.”
Scavo is part of the youth movement sweeping the program. Out of the five players Oregon traveled with, four of them were underclassmen. Amy Matsuoka and Brooke Hamilton both burst onto the scene as freshman, ranking second (75.27) and fourth (75.91) respectively in scoring average on the team. Petra Salko is the other sophomore on the travel squad and is the fifth-best scorer on the team (76.64) but shot the most rounds under or at par (3) on the team. Scavo ranks third (75.36) in scoring average.
Team captain and senior Cathleen Santoso is the only upperclassmen on the travel team and ended fall with a team-best 74.55 stroke average. She’s proud to see the underclassmen playing such a big role on this team.
“Just because they are freshmen and sophomores doesn’t mean they don’t belong on this team,” Santoso said.
Because this team is so young and already so talented, Santoso is confident that the program and team will continue to thrive.
But Santoso isn’t finished writing her own chapter at Oregon. She, like the rest of the team, still has National Championship goals in mind.
She considered the Fall season to be “up and down” but she knows the talent is there; it’s just about putting it together.
“We all know that we can play well,” Santoso said. “It’s just stringing all those rounds together in one tournament.”
Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @JustGusMorris