Ukiah, Windsor girls advance to NCS golf tournament

By MICHAELCOIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Rain, wind, cold – no problem – for Empire prep golfers accustomed to adverse weather.

Surviving a stormy Monday in the East Bay, both the Ukiah and Windsor girls’ teams advanced to the North Coast Section finals and a pair of individuals also moved on from the section qualifier tournament.

The reward is playing the NCS Tournament of Champions in Windsor next week.
League champions Maria Carrillo and Analy already secured spots in the finals, where the top teams advance to the Nor Cal championships.

“I was proud to make it this far. But I never shot this good,” said Emily Hulsman, an All-Empire golfer from Casa Grande after recording one of the day's low scores at Deer Ridge Golf and Country Club, in Antioch. “I get to play another 18 holes.”
Leading <NO1>the young and improving<NO>Ukiah <NO1>team<NO>to the section finals is Gretchen Roderick, who finished strong soaked head to toe by rain.

"I was surprised that people didn't quit and go inside. We stuck with it and played well," Roderick said.
Also advancing as a team was Windsor, led by low scorer Amanda Hauth. Hailey Komrig, from Montgomery, joined Hulsman in moving on as an individual<NO1>player.

Cardinal Newman’s Meagan McConnol.finished one shot behind the group that advanced to the section finals out of the small school championships, also held Monday, at Peacock Gap Country Club, in San Rafael.

Both tournaments started off as rain came down and stayed around across the Bay Area on Monday. Empire golfers expect wet, chilly rounds in spring and fall, so an early storm didn't shake their strokes.

Wearing rain pants, a warm up under a jersey and jacket, Hulsman was prepared for a wet day on the course in Antioch.
"I had my gear. It was like pouring," Hulsman said. "It was a long day."

Yet a rewarding one for the Casa Grande ace. <NO>Hulsman hit strong drives, solid chips, but knew to take a little off putts on slick greens. Her score of 79 was the second lowest among girls qualifying as individuals for the section finals.

"That's a great score. Everything I was doing was good today," she said.

Playing the Deer Ridge course a day earlier helped Hulsman figure how to take on the long, hilly layout. She only hit one sand trap and never went out of bounds on Monday.

“That really did help,” she said. “It was definitely my best day. This was a good time to have it.”

The section qualifier is an opportunity for top individuals and teams to earn berths in the finals after finishing just off the lead in league play.

Ukiah and Windsor were second and third, respectively, in the North Bay League.

They were the final pair to qualify as teams for the section finals Monday.

"Advancing is the goal. That was great," Roderick said.

Two weeks ago Ukiah played an invitational at Deer Ridge. That competition was in the heat. Monday was in the rain.

"I just dealt with it," Roderick said. "I had to like focus and stay calm and not freak out."

Finishing two shots better in the wet conditions, with an 89, Roderick looks to carry an improved short game and steady putting into the section championships.

The day wasn't complete, however, until tournament officials circled the Ukiah team name on the scoreboard – the Wildcats qualified for the section finals.

"We all just cheered," Roderick said. "It was super exciting."