April 20, 2008
The top-ranked UCLA women's golf team travels to the 22nd Pacific-10 Conference Women's Golf Championship, hosted by USC at the Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes, Calif.
The Palos Verdes Golf Club, which annually hosts the Regional Challenge each February, will play to a par of 72 over 6,000 yards.
Two months ago, the Bruins won the Regional Challenge at this course by seven strokes over Florida. Their victorious total of 876 was 24-over par and they placed four individuals in the Top 10.
"We have a lot of confidence playing at Palos Verdes Golf Club after our win there in February," said Head Coach Carrie Forsyth. "Our team had the opportunity to play out there a few weeks ago and we're well-prepared for the Pac-10 Championship."
As the top-ranked team in two of the three major polls (GolfWeek and NGCA), the Bruins' lineup features four players ranked in the Top 20.
Leading the list is junior Tiffany Joh, who is enjoying another All-America season. She leads the team in scoring average (72.0), Top 10 finishes (7), rounds under par (11) and rounds under 70 (3). She also won the Kent Youel Invitational in November and enters the conference championship as the defending medalist. Joh is ranked fourth in both individual polls (GolfWeek and GolfStat).
Sophomore Sydnee Michaels recently placed fifth at the ASU tournament and rose to 12th in the national rankings. Her scoring average of 73.2 ranks second on the team and she has a streak of six consecutive Top 20 finishes.
Freshmen Maria Jose Uribe and Glory Yang are each averaging 73.3 and are ranked 14th and 17th in the nation, respectively. Uribe, the 2007 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, also has one collegiate victory. Yang has recorded six rounds under par and six Top 20 results.
The UCLA lineup will feature a new player in the fifth spot: fourth-year junior Maiya Tanaka. Tanaka, who earned a letter last season after playing in all three of the Bruins' spring championship events, fired a final round 68 (-4) at the PING/ASU Invitational earlier this month. That round was the best of her collegiate career and enabled her to leapfrog 31 spots on the final day and finish in a tie for 42nd. More importantly, it helped vault the Bruins from sixth place to third with a final round score of 286 (-2). Last season at the conference tournament, Tanaka placed 20th, her best result of the season.
"We have a lot of confidence in Maiya," said Forsyth. "She's played 12 rounds this year and 19 last season, so she has plenty of experience. Her best attribute is her mental strength: she never quits on the golf course. She always fights for it."