Already short in number to begin the year, a continuously flexing roster resulted in the highlights for the Linfield women’s golf program being considerably more individual than team-oriented.
Fortunately, the three mainstays – Maggie Harlow, Alexandria Smith and Brinn Hovde – provided plenty of positives, winning one tournament apiece and combining for 16 Top-10 finishes throughout the year.
Harlow, a freshman, claimed the first medalist honors for the 2012-13 Wildcat squad – and the first of her collegiate career – with her triumph at the Linfield Invitational in October.
Veterans Smith and Hovde scored their medals after the turn of the calendar year. Smith, who averaged a team-low 87.1 strokes per round in her junior season, opened the spring schedule with a win at the PLU Invitational. Hovde won a tournament for the first time in her career in her second-to-last collegiate match, tying for first at the Willamette Cup.
For first-year head coach Brynn Hurdus, the greatest satisfaction came from witnessing her Wildcats make strides on the individual level.
“I saw a lot of improvement from all players, especially in specific aspects of the game including chipping, putting and fundamentals of their swings,” she said. “There was also a huge improvement in the mental aspect. They made leaps and bounds, and that’s such a challenging part of golf.”
But to make noise in the conference standings, it takes a full team, something Linfield sorely lacked. In a transition year for Hurdus, a former Wildcat, there simply was not enough time for some players to develop on a fluid roster.
“It was difficult to have a consistent team score because we had fluctuations in the roster between fall and spring and throughout the season,” Hurdus said.
As a team, Linfield finished seventh in the final Northwest Conference team standings after placing fifth, seventh and seventh again at the NWC Fall Classic, NWC Spring Classic and NWC Championship Tournament.
But Hurdus is already looking forward to next year, because the summer affords her players more time to apply and practice the tweaks she has made in their games.
“It’s been great to watch the growth this year,” she said, “and to see what areas we can to continue to work to improve.”