Men win Husky Invitational, women begin Aagaard era
The men walked into Seattle and got the dub against the University of Washington while the women had a strong showing in Wisconsin.
It is a new era for lady Cougar golf as a head coach was hired to pair with the young roster. This season will be the maiden voyage for head coach Sofie Aagaard who was hired in May, according to WSU Athletics.
The women followed suit of the football team and flew over to Madison, Wisconsin for their season opener at the Badger Invitational on Sunday. Last season, the Cougar team placed fifth among 12 other teams, led by then-freshman Madelyn Gamble. Over the weekend. the team tied for fourth alongside the two other teams of North Florida and Wisconsin, all with a team score of 876 according to golfstat.com.
The Cougs collected the most pars of the tournament with 180, 12 more than the next closest team.
The Lady Cougars were led by both Australian redshirt senior Darcy Habgood and Jinyu Wu, the redshirt sophomore from China, who both finished with a score of 217.
In a press conference, Coach Aagaard noted how the whole nine-player roster remains competitive and it is likely that fans will see different starting lineups throughout the season.
The lady Cougars will embark on a nine-course season across the country before hopefully attending the PAC-12 Championship and afterwards, returning to Pullman for the NCAA West Regionals, Hosted at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
Last season, Women’s golf finished with a tenth place showing at the 2022 PAC-12 Women’s Golf Championships in Eugene, Oregon where the Hometown Ducks won first place.
“Team goals are always to get one day better every day. If we can continue to implement the things that we put into practice that we will know will make us better every single day into every competition and every training session that we have. I think that’s a great success,” Aagaard said.
The men packed up and flew west just a day later on Monday to compete in the Husky Invitational, in Bremerton, under Dustin White, fifth-year head coach and Cougar alum.
The Cougars will play in a series of west coast competitions and will return to the Palouse in mid-March to face the Vandals at the Bandon Dunes Championship.
Last season, the Cougars finished ninth of sixteenth at the Husky Invitational. The men later concluded their season with a 12th-place performance at the PAC-12 Championship located in Sammamish led by the Canadian redshirt senior Max Sekulic.
Coach White sounded confident leading up to the invitational.
“I think we’re ready … but I think we’re all excited to hit the road and see what’s in store for us,” he said.
And ready they were as the Cougs walked away finishing in first place while the Rival Huskies finished third. The Cougs fell to their Rival counterpart Huskies in first place last year, but Revenge is sweet.
The California native junior Jaden Cantafio led the men’s team with a score of 213, while his teammate Pono Yanagi, the senior from Hawaii, was just a point behind.
Both Women’s and men’s golf saw great success in their opening tournaments and look to see progression as the season goes on.