Quality, not quantity, defines this year’s Linfield women’s golf team.
Small in number but great in talent, the Wildcats seek to be more consistent in tournament play with a goal of finishing in the top three in every tournament.
Taking the reins of the program is former Wildcat Brynn Hurdus, a four-year Northwest Conference all-star. The opportunity presents a unique situation for Hurdus, who just one year removed from college finds herself coaching three of her former teammates: Sophie Corr, Brinn Hurdus and Alexandria Smith.
But Hurdus, ever the professional and optimist, considers her close familiarity with the team to be a huge advantage.
“I know how they think on the course,” she said.
The importance of this knowledge is revealed in what the first-year coach believes to be her program’s biggest challenge: becoming mentally tougher. Once accomplished, this should correlate to lower scores on a more consistent basis.
“They need to understand that golf is not a one-shot game; there are a million ways to score well,” Hurdus said. “But we need to bridge the gap between understanding this intellectually and being able to perform with that mentality on the course.”
Individually, Smith returns as the team’s lowest scorer, but Hovde and Corr are close behind. The three women averaged in the high-80s last season, but Hurdus said she expects the veteran Wildcats to shoot in the 70s this year.
A promising incoming talent is freshman Maggie Harlow, who brings four years of state tournament experience to the collegiate ranks.
Collectively, this small but confident squad can draw strength from the close-knit bond between its golfers, creating situation in which players want to play well not only for themselves, but for the team as a whole.
“Just knowing you have a team that cares about how you do is important,” Hurdus said.
The first opportunity to test that theory comes Sept. 30, when the Wildcats travel to Spokane for the Whitworth Invitational. The NWC Fall Classic takes place Oct. 27-28, with the final two major tournaments that decide the league championship looming on the spring calendar.