Purple and Gold: Women’s Golf Thriving in Seattle
It’s a difficult piece to write. Although I don’t feel the feud in the way some do, writing about the University of Washington is dangerous for a life-long Oregon Duck. Fortunately, we’re talking about the UW’s Women’s Golf Team, not football, so I think that Portland and Eugene will give me a pass.
The first thing one must understand about the UW’s environment is that it is beyond idyllic. Behind the school is a panorama of lakes, as far as the eye can see. Sailing is a ten out of ten, and the region is dotted with some exquisite golf courses, upon which some of the Lady Huskies presumably practice and play. The second thing to know is that it rains a lot. Residents grumble a bit, but they know that the rain is the reason for the general green that easily eclipses OZ.
The Husky golf teams respond brilliantly by scheduling many of their competitions in more sun-lit regions. The remaining events scheduled in the Pacific Northwest are held at such courses at Trysting Tree in Corvallis, a nationally prestigious course. This year, however, after the Windy City Classic in Chicago, the Oregon State Invitational in Corvallis and the Ehhean Ihlamfeldt Invitations in nearby Redmond, the team will head south and pretty much stay there. First comes the Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, and the Peg Barnard at Stanford, alma mater of Tiger, Notah Begay and other figures on the tour. The Westbrook Spring Invitation takes the team to Arizona, then back to San Jose for the Juli Inkster Invitational.
Then, the schedule gets really grueling, as the Maui Classic looms on the itinerary. Returning to the southwest for the Lady Sun Belt Invitational in Tempe, the stage is set for the Pac 12 Championship in Valencia, California. Finally, the Lady Huskies intend to make the trip to Georgia for the NCAA Championships, a journey that the university team has made many times.
Washington is blessed with a coaching staff that has become a part of the physical structure of the university. Coach Mary Lou Mulfur is one of the four longest-tenured coaches in the country, and has garnered no small amount of respect in the process. The first woman to be admitted on scholarship over thirty years ago, Mulfur was a two-time state champion from, of all places, Portland, Oregon (the other half of the Hatfield/McCoy equation in the Pacific Northwest). Under her watch, the women’s team has reached the NCAA national finals nine times, and doesn’t look too bad for doing it again soon. Junior Sadena Parks shot a recent 66 for a course record in the Regionals, Karinn Dickinson has shown strong leadership, Anya Alvarez is looking like a pro-on-tour to be very soon and freshmen A Ram Choi and Kelli Bowers betray no signs of inexperience or intimidation. In fact, they played a crucial part in getting the Huskies to Texas and the NCAA.
Whatever an Oregon Duck might say in a weak moment, the Lady Huskies represent one of America’s best-kept secrets in a university surrounded by year-round beauty and sporting a vast array of high-level academics. The women’s golf team is a frequent top ten presence in the NCAA, the opportunities for world-class golf courses can be found only minutes away from campus, and admit it…when it really comes down to it, a little rain never hurt anybody. On this, Ducks and Huskies can agree.