Kansas women’s golf is tuning up for its first spring tournament of the season, where it will travel to the Moon Golf Invitational on Feb. 18 in Florida. The first invitational, hosted by the University of Louisville at Duran Golf Club, will kick off the spring season that runs from February through mid-April.
The team will visit some of the most prestigious courses in America this spring, headlined by The Reserve at Lake Keowee, and the Golf Club of Oklahoma, which will host this year's Big 12 Championship.
The 2018 fall season was a successful one for the team when it placed top three in team score in three-straight outings. The team has been lead by junior Yi-Tsen Chou who was the Jayhawks' top performer in three of the team’s five events. Chou's average strokes this season, 73.53, is two strokes fewer than her sophomore season average and three less than her freshman season average.
In addition to Chou, sophomore Sera Tadokoro and senior Ariadna Fonseca Diaz each took home the title of Kansas’s top performer at an event. These three players lead the team in rounds played under par as well as podium finishes, with Diaz’s third-place finish at the Palmetto Intercollegiate being the lone top three finish.
These three players will be instrumental to the team's success this spring season. If the trio's average strokes per round remain consistent, (all three averaging just over 73 strokes per round) their spring season looks promising.
Senior Chomchana Phuchanbanchob is another Kansas golfer to watch this spring season. Phuchanbanchob tallied four rounds at even par, and her high-low rounds of 72-78 are different by only six strokes. Her ability to play at or around par could spell success for Phuchanbanchob should she continue her form from the fall.
Kansas will see some familiar faces this spring when it tees off against Clemson University twice and as it faces regular Big 12 competition in Kansas State and Oklahoma. Perhaps the biggest challenger to the Big 12 crown will be Texas, who won the championship in 2018, and Oklahoma State who will be right at home in nearby Oklahoma City.
The Jayhawks will make their final adjustments for the Big 12 Championship when they travel to South Carolina for the Clemson Invitational less than a week from the start of the conference championships. This invitational will serve as a good indicator for the Jayhawks' form leading into the championships in Oklahoma.
Of course, the Big 12 championship is still a long way out, but the importance of the Moon Golf Invitational next week cannot be understated as it will prove to be a pacesetter for the early part of the spring season.
At the Moon Golf Invitational, Kansas will strive to continue a four-tournament streak of finishing in the top half of entered teams that started in September at the Lady Paladin Invitational.
While there are many positives rolling into the spring season, Kansas has faltered on the big stage in past Big 12 Championships. However, provided the Jayhawks come out of their extended off-season swinging, key golfers could help this Kansas roster that finished last at the 2018 Big 12 championships, have its best season in the conference in the past several seasons.