WSU golfer fares well at national tournament

[media-credit name=”Source: Kelsey Chugg” align=”alignright” width=”224″]Future Weber State University golfer Kelsey Chugg hits the ball while she played in the Public Links National Tournament, making the qualifying rounds and losing to the eventual winner.[/media-credit]Weber State University’s new member of the women’s golf team, Kelsey Chugg, advanced to the second round of match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship after beating the No. 4 seed in the opening round.

This was one of the biggest tournaments Chugg has ever played in, and she said she was excited to be playing with that elite group of athletes.

“I was feeling pretty excited because this was the biggest tournament I have played in, and I was really excited to be at that golf course and with the other athletes,” Chugg said.

Chugg shot rounds of 80 and 78 in the stroke play. She grabbed one of the final few spots in the match play bracket earlier this week.

Chugg was seeded at No. 61 and was set to compete against the No. 4 seed Lee Lopez, a sophomore at the University of California Los Angeles. Chugg won the first hole, but fell behind twice throughout the match. She birdied the par-5 on the 15th hole to get back to tie with Lopez. Chugg shot four over par 75 over the first 18 holes of the match. She eventually triumphed over Lopez when she won the 20th hole.

Against Lopez, Chugg said she took the match one stroke at a time because anything could have happened in a match play tournament.

“I took everything one shot at a time,” Chugg said. “In match play anything can happen, and so even if she may have been a better player and played at a better school, I just wanted to take it one shot at a time and give it my best.”

Chugg moved on to face the No. 36-seeded Brianna Do in the round of 32. After holding a two-up lead after seven holes, Chugg lost the ninth, 10th, 13th and 14th holes to fall behind by two strokes. Chugg would not get one back on the 15th hole, but a birdie by Do on the 17th hole ended the match.

Chugg will be a junior for the Wildcats this fall. She is a transfer from Redlands Community College in Oklahoma. She said she was attracted to WSU because of the coaches and her future teammates.

“I wanted to get closer to home,” Chugg said. “I really like Coach Smith, and I met some of the girls on the team and they are really nice, and Weber State has good athletics.”

Coach Jeff Smith said Chugg will be a great athlete for WSU this year because she has so much experience. She played two years at a community college in Oklahoma and they took second in the nation.

“She really played good on a difficult golf course and weather conditions in the Public Links Tournament,” Smith said. “With her second-place finish in the nation, she will really bring a lot of experience. She is a very fine golfer.”

Senior Jordan Ulibarri said she is excited to have Chugg on the team, hoping that her skills will help other members of the team.

“I think she is going to help a lot,” Ulibarri said. “She has a lot of experience already and, playing so well in a national tournament, I think Weber could really use someone like her. I think she will be a good addition to our team.”

This summer, the WSU Women’s Golf Team is playing in tournaments to stay in shape. Smith said that the team is motivated and working hard this summer.

“We don’t have any team practices in the summer, so they are kind of on their own,” Smith said. “They are very dedicated self-starters. They are all working really hard.”

Ulibarri said the upcoming season is showing promise for WSU, and that the experience the team has in college golf at this point will give them an extra competitive edge.

“I think we are going to do really well,” Ulibarri said. “We have a lot of really good players. I think everyone is figuring out college golf, and I am really excited because I think everyone’s ready to do really well. We have a lot of really good players returning and coming. I think it’s going to be a really good year for us.”

Smith agreed, saying the team is older and smarter and that it will contribute as well to a successful season. They have lost a few good players, but the new ones will also contribute.

“We lost a real fine player in Kelsey Adams, but we are adding two really good players in Kristie Jensen and Kelsey Chugg,” Smith said. “Everyone else is back. They will be a year older, a year smarter and more experienced. I think that we will be a more experienced team and a little more competitive.”