No. 24 Baylor women’s golf battles chilling conditions, maintains big spring goals

Junior Britta Snyder follows through on her swing. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

When No. 24 Baylor women’s golf traveled to Gold Canyon, Ariz., for the Match in the Desert on Jan. 23, it thought it’d get warm temperatures. It didn’t take long for head coach Jay Goble and the team to find out it was not exactly comfortable weather at Superstition Mountain Golf Club.

“Our idea was to get out there and get some warm weather training,” Goble said. “It was funny. It was not warm: it was actually cooler than [Waco] every day. The high for the tournament round was only 50 degrees Fahrenheit.”

The Bears fought the cold and finished in third place overall, only two shots behind first place. Goble thought his group played well and there were specific shots he knows they’ll get back in the future. He also brought up the fact that the lineup was without sophomore Sera Hasegawa, who Goble said “was our low player all fall.”

Goble said Hasegawa is battling an injury right now, but that she’ll be healthy soon.

In that Match in the Desert, junior Britta Snyder carded a 5-under 67 to finish and tied for fourth with fellow teammate freshman Silje Ohma. Snyder was relieved to place so well, especially since she was bogey-free for the entire round.

“It was a big confidence booster,” Snyder said. “I didn’t play my best golf last semester so to come out strong out of the gate was a great feeling.”

Goble said it was the first time Snyder executed a bogey-free round. He said “it didn’t look like she was going to make a bogey” all day.

“I don’t know if she’s had many bogey-free rounds in her life before,” Goble said. “That’s the kind of round you like to see.”

Snyder said the first match of the spring helped shake the rust off and that each member of the group is focusing on their own individual game. She said the squad is fine-tuning its chemistry and making sure everyone is on the same page.

An added bonus to playing in Arizona was that Baylor played one of its qualifying rounds at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. The national championship is held at this course, so Goble likes to get his team out there a couple of times in the spring.

Goble said the cold weather did make it a little bit different, but that overall the Bears gained valuable course knowledge in hopes of making it to Grayhawk later in the spring.

“It never hurts to continue to look at those spots and look at those greens and look at the golf course,” Goble said. “It’s not going to do anything but benefit us, even though the conditions will be different.”

He said he plans on having the team get back to Grayhawk one or two more times in the coming months.

Snyder said getting to the national championship is one of the many “big goals” that this team has for the 2023 spring season. She said the lineup is deeper than the five athletes that a coach can take to a tournament.

“We want to win it all, we want to go all the way, we want to win Big 12’s, we want to have a great season and we know we can,” Snyder said. “We have talent five-deep on this team, even eight, nine-deep. We’re solid. We know that when we put our best golf together that we’re going to be a tough force to reckon with.”

Snyder qualified in the No. 1 spot ahead of the Match in the Desert, but she said this team is so talented that it’s going to be hard to stay at the top.

“All of us have the potential to play number one on this team,” Snyder said. “I truly believe that we’re five-deep and that anyone can all go out there and win a tournament on any given day.”

Baylor’s next event on deck is the Collegiate Invitational, a two-day-long event in Guadalajara, Mexico, from Sunday through Monday. Goble said the team will try to qualify this week amid the current conditions.

February may be the shortest month of the year, but Baylor has a jam-packed slate. The Bears will compete in three different events in the shortened month, but Goble is just keeping things simple ahead of each one.

“We’re just going to keep doing the same old thing: keep them on the golf course, keep them scoring their ball, keep them competing and get them ready,” Goble said.