2004: UCLA women to tackle Calif. men

By Jay A. Coffin

The UCLA women’s golf team is about to join the growing list of female players testing their skills against men. The Bruins will compete against 29 men’s teams and 30 individuals Sept. 17-18 at the Gold Rush California Collegiate Golf Showcase, an inaugural event hosted by the UCLA men that will bring California colleges together regardless of their division or affiliation.

The UCLA women, the 2004 national champions, will play from the same tees as the men at the PGA of Southern California Golf Club. Both the Legends and Champions courses are expected to be set at more than 7,200 yards. (Elevation in Beaumont, Calif., is 2,000 feet above sea level, which should make the courses – which have few forced carries – play nearer to 6,900 yards.) The format is 36 holes (morning and afternoon shotgun) on Day 1, and 18 holes on Day 2.

“I feel like it’s going to be another type of competitive experience for our athletes,” UCLA women’s coach Carrie Forsyth said. “I wouldn’t have scheduled it if I didn’t think we could handle it. I honestly believe it will help us. It should be fun.”

It will be the second time senior Charlotte Mayorkas will play against men. She received an exemption into the California State Open, Aug. 30-Sept. 3, because she won the Pac-10 Championship.

The event will be at Southern California Golf Association Golf Club in Murietta, where Mayorkas works and has shot 70 from the back tees.

“I learn so much from playing with the guys,” Mayorkas said. “You’ve got to mix it up.”

The idea for the women to play in the Gold Rush came about this summer when Forsyth and UCLA men’s coach O.D. Vincent were discussing how the dynamics of golf have changed since Annika Sorenstam played in the PGA Tour’s Bank of America Colonial last year. Forsyth mentioned that it would interesting to see how a women’s college team fared against men. Vincent concurred. After getting approval from the NCAA, the two UCLA coaches reached an agreement.

“The women, after winning the national championship, are very deserving to play in the field,” Vincent said. “I’m sure there may be some coaches who don’t share our viewpoint, that’s fine. I challenge them to find a legitimate reason why they shouldn’t play other than that they are women.”

Competing with the UCLA men’s and women’s teams in the Gold Rush will be Cal Poly SLO, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Northridge, Chico State, Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State San Marcos, Fresno State, Long Beach State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Sonoma State, Loyola Marymount, The Masters College, University of the Pacific, Pepperdine, Point Loma-Nazarene, Redlands, Santa Clara, Stanford, University of San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC San Diego. Several junior varsity teams will fill out the field.

Southern Cal and defending national champion California are not participating.

“It’s an event that features all California teams,” Forsyth said. “The thought behind the event was inclusion. In that spirit of inclusion, here we are.”

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