When the BU golf team travels to Pennsylvania this weekend for the Patriot League Women’s Golf Championship, it’s with the hope of repeating the 2015 season finale: a conference title, the team’s first.
Hosted by Lehigh, the tournament will be played over two days at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, with the schools golfing 36 holes tomorrow, Saturday, April 22, and another 18 holes Sunday.
The Terriers mean to use their strong spring season to launch themselves back onto the top of the podium after a runner-up finish last season.
“I’m very confident in this team,” says Adela Cejnarova (CAS’17), who as the only senior has led the Terriers all season. “We have worked hard, and we’re at a good place to play really well.”
Cejnarova will soon close out what has been a remarkable Terrier career. As a freshman in 2014, the Czech Republic native took home the Patriot League Rookie of the Year award. In both sophomore and junior seasons, she earned league individual titles and Golfer of the Year honors.
She’s playing the best golf of her career this season, she says. “I’m consistently playing really well this year. I just enjoy playing with the team and seeing the results.”
The Terriers spent the winter training to improve on a slow fall season that saw them finish no better than sixth in any tournament. The results paid off. The team set back-to-back 54-hole program records this spring, shooting a combined 898 in a second-place finish at Stetson University’s Babs Steffens Invitational in late March, then breaking that record the next week by shooting an 896 in another runner-up finish, at the Harvard Invitational in Sarasota, Fla. To round out regular-season play, BU carded a 302 in an 18-hole competition hosted by Yale to tie the Bulldogs for first last Sunday.
In the Harvard Invitational, Cejnarova says, “we finished only one shot behind Princeton. Last year, playing the same as Princeton was unimaginable. It was really great to have those tournaments to know that we can do it and we can win against really good teams.”
“We’re a good driving team. We drive the ball solid, we drive it straight, and we have good length,” head coach Bruce Chalas says. “The girls catch the ball solid a lot, there are good fundamentals throughout the lineup, and we’re a good putting team.”
The strong team finishes reflect a measure of depth up and down a young lineup that besides Cejnarova features three freshmen, a sophomore, and a junior: Abby Parsons (CGS’18), Saeros Oskarsdottir (CGS’18), Zhangcheng Guo (CGS’18), Megan Carter (CGS’17), and Phyllis Tang (CGS’16, SAR’18).
In addition to its youth, the team is unique in its multicultural makeup. Tang hails from Hong Kong, Guo from Beijing, and Oskarsdottir from Iceland.
Players say that international breadth has been a strength this season. “It definitely affects the culture, but I think in a good way,” Cejnarova says. “Everyone brings something else, and we are able to respect each other and to be friends and be teammates even though we are from totally different cultures. You have different insights and different inputs. If you just had a team from one country, you probably wouldn’t see those other things. We can learn a lot from each other.”
Chalas says Cejnarova’s contribution to the team is immeasurably more than the number of trophies she’s amassed. “She came here with a lot of playing experience, she’s well-organized, and she has a lot of drive,” he says. “She’s clearly taught the team how to win and what it needs to do to prepare. She’s played an invaluable role in establishing the team culture.”
That culture, he says, is very simple: “Prepare to practice and prepare to win.”
As for what it will take for the Terriers to find themselves posing with another Patriot League trophy, Chalas has another simple answer.
“Shoot the lowest score.”
The BU golf team plays in the Patriot League Women’s Golf Championship tomorrow, Saturday, April 22, at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa. The 54-hole tournament will conclude Sunday, April 23, with the winner earning a bid to an NCAA Regional Tournament.
Taylor Raglin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.