CSUN women’s golf tees off season at Hobble Creek

Fernanda+Sosa+Stackpole+swings+during+the+2021-2022+Big+West+Championship%2C+where+the+Matadors+finished+eighth+out+of+nine.

Big West Conference

Fernanda Sosa Stackpole swings during the 2021-2022 Big West Championship, where the Matadors finished eighth out of nine.

Alexis Martinez, Reporter

The CSUN women’s golf team teed off on Sept. 12 at the Hobble Creek Fall Classic, a course that has brought forth many golfers to its beautiful and lush greenery.

In an 18-team field, the Matadors’ performance mustered up ninth place. The team improved by three spots from the last time they visited this course in Utah.

“There’s certainly enough potential and talent within our group to score,” said head coach Michelle Winkler when discussing where the Matadors could go this season. “We just need to minimize our mental mistakes.”

Some notable departures from last year’s team include Julia Johansson and Kiran Sangha, with averages of 78.04 and 79.76 strokes, respectively. To replace their production, freshmen Gracie Piar and Kim Turgut joined the team and racked up scores from the tour of 76.3 and 79 strokes, respectively.

Turgut shone in her debut on Monday with three birdies, but had a bit of a slump on Tuesday, earning an 86 in a 71-par and finishing tied for 61st. Piar had room for improvement after a shaky showing in the first two rounds. Her subpar performance was erased by the third round on Tuesday, where she scored 69 in a 71-par, an impressive turnaround given her slow start as she moved up to tie for 26th.

Senior Grace Bettis also stepped up, averaging 79 strokes and achieving five birdies. After an opening round in which she hit a 6-over par, she continued her strong play in the second round with a 7-over par, where she racked up a birdie to boot. The third round became challenging to overcome as she had an 11-over par performance. She would ultimately tie her teammate Turgut for 61st place.

Second-year player Fernanda Sosa Stackpole had a slow start in the first round, securing a 9-over par and a birdie to boot. However, the second round proved to be this team’s bread and butter as Stackpole, like her teammates, improved her shooting for a 4-over par. She would also chalk up four birdies in the second round. In contrast, in the third round, she faltered and only struck for two birdies with a 5-over. This was a solid outing for Stackpole, as she averaged 77 strokes and finished tied for 34th place.

Sophomore Julia Myklebust also started the tournament off slow. The fourth-leading scorer on the team last year, she had a minor outing in the opening round with a forgettable 15-over par, but after becoming more accommodated to the course she turned it around in the second round with a 4-over par and three birdies to boot. The third round was a far cry from her first-round performance, but still subpar as she rallied for an 8-over. This placed her tied for 73rd with an 80-stroke average.

As a team, the Matadors improved from last year’s Hobble Creek Fall Classic performance. In 2021, they were over 76 strokes above par in total, suitable for a 12th-place finish. This year, the team improved to a ninth-place finish with 66 strokes above par. The team’s overall showing may be attributed to the newest additions to the group, Piar and Turgut, but also to the solid performances of Bettis, Myklebust and Stackpole.

Winkler had a few words to say about the overall expectation of the team.

“I expect us to be in the top third of every tournament and grow our golf IQ throughout the season,” she said.

The CSUN women’s golf team will head to Colorado for the Colonel Wallenberg Ptarmigan Ram Classic from Sept. 26-27.