⛳️ 2019-20 Women's Golf Season In Review
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 2019-20 season was suddenly cut short for the Kansas women’s golf team due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Even though the spring season came to an unexpected conclusion, results from the fall and strides made in the spring provide encouragement for the 2020-21 season. The Jayhawks ended their season with a 10th place finish at the Gator Invitational.
Head coach Erin O’Neil led her team to four top-10 finishes in tournaments this fall in her 16th season with Kansas.
Junior Sera Tadokoro made history in the fall when she won the Louisville Cardinal Cup (October 20), becoming the first player since 2016 to win a women’s golf tournament while wearing the crimson and blue.
Tadokoro led the team and was Kansas’ top finisher in four-of-five fall events (Sunflower Invitational, Lady Paladin Invitational, Palmetto Intercollegiate, Louisville Cardinal Cup) and both spring events (Moon Golf Invitational and Gator Invitational). She recorded three top-10 finishes in addition to winning the Louisville Cardinal Cup.
The Kansas lineup utilized Tadokoro, sophomore Pear Pooratanaopa, and freshman Ying-Ting Hsieh for every tournament.
Pooratanaopa steadily improved during the fall campaign, where she recorded a top-10 finish at the Louisville Cardinal Cup (October 18-20) after she shot a personal-best at-par 216 while placing in a tie for sixth place. She ended the year with three finishes inside the top-20 and one inside the top-10.
Hsieh got valuable experience in her first collegiate season, participating in all seven events. Her top finish was at the Sunflower Invitational (September 15-16) where she placed just outside the top-30 in a tie for 32nd after shooting 16-over par 232.
“This season has been all about learning and growing on and off the course,” said O’Neil. “Overall, we are a raw, young squad and during the year we saw moments of greatness and moments of frustration. We had a significant change to our line up mid year that while challenging, it allowed others to gain experience they may not have gotten otherwise.”
The Jayhawks will look ahead to the 2020-21 season, with four incoming freshmen joining the squad. O’Neil hopes they provide a competitive boost to the team.
“Consistently competing is really the only way to get better because it makes it very clear where your strengths and weaknesses are, and it lets you know where to shift your focus during your preparation so that you can perform well the next time. When I think about adding our four incoming freshmen to the mix, I’m very optimistic about what we will accomplish next season. They are all hard workers, intensely competitive, love golf, and want to help us reach our goals of reaching postseason play on a consistent basis.”
Although the 2019-20 season was cut short, O’Neil and the Jayhawks feel they’ve been reminded of the little things that matter, and hope that this unprecedented break will allow time to find a new appreciation for the sport of golf.
"When the season ended abruptly it brought up a lot of emotions: shock, anger, fear and frustration. We have to look beyond ourselves and do what’s best for the greater good. We have to remind each other that this isn’t permanent, we have to focus on what’s in our control, and we will get through it. Our priority is take care of ourselves and each other and to do our best to stay healthy. We have been reminded not to take things for granted. Hopefully after we get through this everyone will have a renewed love and passion for the game of golf, for the process of getting better, for being able to practice, compete and work out as a team and to have a better appreciation for all of the little things that really matter like kindness, patience, love and friendship. I hope it inspires us to live in the moment more and to give 110 percent to that moment."Erin O'Neil, Head Coach