It’s spring break at Wake Forest and Mathilda Cappeliez is packing up to go home. The French freshman told head coach Dianne Dailey last week of her plans to quit after the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate. She’ll fly back to Evian, France on Wednesday.
“I can’t wait to go home and play golf,” said Cappeliez, “go to (LPGA) Q-School in the summer and be happy.”
Dailey calls Cappeliez’s mid-semester departure “unfortunate.” Later this week the Deacons will head to Hawaii for the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational, but Dailey isn’t sure how many players will make the trip.
Losing Cappeliez isn’t her only concern.
Sophomore Antonia Eberhard of Germany withdrew from the Darius Rucker with a pulled chest muscle that has plagued her for over a month. Sierra Brooks, another hotshot freshman, from Sorrento, Fla., is out with a left wrist injury. Brooks had surgery last December on a tear in her wrist. She was healing nicely until she fell during a workout and sprained it.
Brooks hopes to be back in the lineup for the ACC Championship.
“It has definitely been a rough freshman year,” she said.
Junior Vinh-Hop Ngo hasn’t touched a golf club since last April due to a back injury.
That leaves four players on Dailey’s roster. The Deacons took only three to the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in February to open the spring season. Top-ranked Jennifer Kupcho withdrew from that event after she fell off a golf cart and suffered a concussion. She was back in the lineup last weekend on Hilton Head Island.
During the recruiting process, Dailey said, Cappeliez told them she planned to stay for two years before trying LPGA Q-School. This is the first player she’s had in nearly 30 years at Wake Forest leave in the middle of a semester.
“College golf wasn’t for her,” said Dailey.
The Brooks/Cappeliez duo gave Wake an exceptionally strong freshman class, making them a undeniable threat in the postseason. When the pair signed in November of 2015, Brooks was third in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and Cappeliez was 15th.
Dailey called it the strongest recruiting class of her career. But the honeymoon didn’t last long.
Cappeliez, frustrated with the shape of her game and the academic workload, was eager to return home to France to focus on her upcoming professional career. It didn’t help, she noted, that assistant coach Kevin Diaz left midyear to pursue other opportunities. He’s now the vice president of sales at Wheels Up.
Cappeliez plans to stay amateur throughout the summer and hopes to receive sponsor exemptions into Ladies European Tour events. She advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur the past two years and made the cut at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open.
Retired LPGA player and national coach Patricia Meunier-Lebouc once called Cappeliez an elegant and driven player.
“What I used to hear about me,” she said, “I can say about her.”
The 12th-ranked Demon Deacons have two regular-season events left before the postseason. After the Hawaii tournament March 14-15, they’ll co-host the Bryan National Collegiate in Browns Summit, N.C.
“I think we still have a strong team,” said Dailey, “as long as we can get everybody healthy.”