Golf is a fickle game with seemingly more lows than highs. Many people say it is the true test of character. This season has been a testament to that statement.
We came off a great summer of golf ready to start our senior campaigns and lead our new, young team. Playing the toughest fall schedule in the country on some very difficult courses (Olympia Fields, Colonial, Muirfield Village, and Golf Club of Georgia), our season got off to a rocky start with our best team finish being 8th halfway through the season and our ranking dropping outside the top 40. Coach Ray and Coach Bortis talk a lot about trusting the process and controlling what we can control, and that we did. They pushed us and the whole team extremely hard in the offseason through 7 AM practices and workouts. This forced us to reflect on what we need to do better, both as players and captains. Our team was brought closer together and motivated for the spring season. Instead of being demoralized and caught up in the results, we stayed patient, hungry, and determined to turn the season around. We knew we were better than we were playing, and if we kept doing things the right way it would only be a matter of time until we started to “click” as a unit (shoutout to our favorite Marine Matt Bortis aka “The Unit”).
The patience and perseverance paid off. The Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas was a key turning point for us. Brandon led the way with a 3rd place finish and we finished 3rd as team in a very strong field. With this newly found confidence, we defended our home turf at Stanford and won again at the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo (with each of us picking up our first individual collegiate titles in the process). The good vibes continued at the Pac 12 Championships in Eugene, where we triumphed over UCLA by 7 shots to complete the hat trick. Reflecting on it now, the battle scars and the struggles we went through as a team in the fall made these wins even more gratifying.
We stepped onto campus four years ago as naïve freshmen, “bright eyed and bushy tailed” as Coach Ray would say. Now as seasoned veterans, grateful for all the lessons learned along the way, we are excited as ever to represent the Cardinal one more time and proudly wear the “S” on our chests in our last post-season. We look forward to riding the momentum from this past month and ending our careers on a high note.
Isaiah Salinda and Brandon Wu
|Brandon and Isaiah - click on image to enlarge|