Although small in number, the University of Redlands women's golf team remained big in desire as a talented squad with impressive veteran experience. With only five competing members, the Bulldogs relied on consistency, determination, and skill to fire off a second-place finish at the always-challenging Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship Tournament. Furthermore, this season saw various individual athletic and academic accolades, as highlighted by junior Caroline Ordian's (Palm Desert, CA) three-peat as the SCIAC Athlete of the Year award and third-consecutive top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships.
The No. 6 Bulldog women's golf team kicked off the fall portion of the 2016-17 season at the Western New Mexico Invitational in Goodyear, AZ. While finishing tied-for-fifth against solid competition from all divisions, the squad put together an opening round of 300 for the fourth-best team score in Redlands history. Furthermore, freshman Jasmine Hsu (Fremont, CA) made her first-ever Bulldog competition one to remember, as she fired off a 36-hole score of 149 (74-75) to rank fourth on the program's top-10 performers list.
After taking third with a two-round total of 637 (318-319) at the Culturame Classic in Aloha, OR, the Bulldogs squared off against Cal Lutheran University in a non-conference, head-to-head battle at Jurupa Hills Golf Course. Redlands covered the top three spots of the leaderboard, as the squad ran away with the 319-337 victory over the Regals. Freshman Paige Phillips (Danville, CA) recorded a pair of 79s in a solid, early outing for the first-year Bulldog.
Following a short winter break, Redlands returned to action in early February by traveling south to the Point Loma Nazarene University Reach Tournament. After sitting in 13th place through the first round, the Bulldogs showed a 23-stroke improvement on day two to secure a 36-hole score of 661 (342-319) for seventh amongst a plethora of NCAA Division II, NAIA, and SCIAC schools.
Nearly three weeks later, the Maroon and Gray faced familiar foes in the SCIAC Tournament No. 1 at the San Dimas Golf Course. Although they endured less-than-ideal conditions including challenging pin placements and lousy weather, the Bulldogs maintained their focus and composure to post a 36-hole total of 670 (338-332) for second place. Ordian led the team with her second-place showing, while Hsu showed great resiliency by shaving off 10 strokes for a round-two total of 79 en route to a tied-for-seventh-place effort.
Redlands kicked off the month of March by flying to Houston, TX, for the Mary Hardin-Baylor Division III National Spring Preview at Bay Oaks Country Club, which was the same location of the NCAA Division III Championships. After the first round, the Maroon and Gray sat just three strokes behind the leader in third place but came out even stronger during day two to snag second place with a 36-hole total of 637 (320-317). While taking on 10 other schools, including four ranked among the nation's top 20, Redlands prevailed over the only other SCIAC opponent, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, by 14 strokes, and defeated regional foe, Whitman College (WA), by six shots. Ordian paced the Bulldogs with a third-place finish. After co-leading the event through the opening 18 holes, she completed the tournament with a final score of 153 (74-79). Senior Raquel Gordon (Culver City, CA) tied for seventh in the individual standings by posting rounds of 79 and 81 for a grand total of 160. Her twin sister senior Kari Gordon (Culver City, CA) shot an 82 on the first 18 holes, before knocking off three strokes for a 79 en route to a two-day total of 161. They each posted 19 pars at the outing. While registering a team-best five birdies, senior Jenna Durette (Oceanside, CA) tallied 17 pars en route to her tied-for-14th finish.
Redlands continued its high-caliber schedule with the 2017 George Fox Westbrook Invitational in Peoria, AZ, on March 18-19. While taking on some of the best teams in the country, Ordian carded an opening round of 77 and showed solid improvement with a 70 to complete the tournament in a tie for first place at 147. She won the first playoff hole to secure the individual championship while also collecting All-Tournament honors. Overall, she led the field in par-four scoring with a minus-one 3.95 to go along with five birdies and 23 pars.
In a unique opportunity to showcase Southern California golf, Redlands excitedly hosted the first-ever Ogio Bulldog Classic at the Indian Springs Golf Club in Indio. Under gusty yet sunny and warm conditions, Redlands posted a third-place team finish with a two-round total of 638 (318-320). Ordian signed her scorecard with a 151 (78-73) to finish fourth in the individual standings with seven birdies and 19 pars, while Durette put together one of her best tournaments in her career with a tied-for-13th finish with a score of 158 (78-80) that included four birdies and 19 pars.
With great momentum on their side, the women competed in the SCIAC Tournament No. 2 at the South Hills Golf Course on April 8-9. With Ordian leading the charge once again, the Bulldogs finished atop the leaderboard with a 20-stroke margin by firing off rounds of 303 and 309 for a total of 612. Ordian posted the best opening round of the tournament by signing her scorecard with a 72 before tackling Sunday's 18 holes with great consistency for a 73. Her two-day total of 145 sent her home with medalist honors by a six-stroke advantage. K. Gordon followed closely in second place with a 36-hole score of 151 (76-75), while Hsu also impressed at the tournament by posting a 157 (74-83) to tie for sixth place.
With four conference rounds now completed, Redlands sat in second (1,282), just five strokes behind the leaders from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the aggregate scoring.
In the final competition of the regular season, the Bulldogs teed off at Los Serranos Golf Course in Chino Hills for three rounds of the 2017 SCIAC Championship Tournament with hopes of making up the difference in the team standings. After shooting a 323 to open the event, Redlands improved its day-two score by nine strokes but it was not enough to change its position on the leaderboard. While trailing by just a few strokes, the Maroon and Gray fired off its best round of the 54-hole tournament on the final day to capture second-place with a total of 945, which was good enough for a one-stroke margin above third-place Pomona-Pitzer Colleges.
After shooting her best round in the final 18 holes, Ordian finished second in the individual standings with a 224 (74-80-70). She registered the only eagle of the competition, which came on the first hole on day three. Overall, she co-led the field in par-five scoring with a plus-one average of 5.08. While notching 30 pars and four birdies, K. Gordon revealed her consistency by recording the same score in back-to-back days for a 54-hole tally of 240 (82-79-79) to tie for ninth. Hsu and R. Gordon also finished among the top 20, while Durette bettered her score each day to walk off the course for the final time with a season-best 77.
With the aggregate scoring of all seven SCIAC rounds, the Bulldogs landed second with a grand total of 2,227 for a 29-stroke lead on the Sagehens.
The SCIAC selected Ordian as the SCIAC Women's Golf Athlete of the Year for the third-consecutive time in an unprecedented achievement. In addition, K. Gordon collected her inaugural First-Team award after twice landing on the Second Team.
Just a week after the SCIAC Championship Tournament, the NCAA announced that reigning national champion Ordian was selected as one of the six individuals to compete at the 2017 NCAA Championships at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, TX.
After a challenging first round, Ordian bettered her score by five strokes for a two-day total of 155 (80-75) to move up 17 spots on the leaderboard from the opening day of action. Through 36 holes, she climbed two more spots into a tie for 18th place with a third-round score of 74. Ordian carded another 74 on the fourth and final day of the 2017 NCAA Championships to move into a tie for ninth place with a 303 (80-75-74-74) for her third-consecutive, top-10 finish at nationals. Overall, Ordian posted 47 pars and was one of nine players to record an eagle at some point during the tournament.
During the tournament's awards banquet, it was announced that Ordian became a three-time PING® Women's Collegiate Golf Association (WGCA) Division III All-American, with this year's First-Team nod. Beyond her All-America selection, Ordian also landed on the WGCA All-Region Team as one of 10 golfers to represent the Division III schools in the West.
Not only was the women's golf team talented on the course but in the classroom as well due to their obvious commitment to academic success. Ordian landed on the 2017 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District At-Large Team as one of 19 female student-athletes among various sports to garner this honor. While well exceeding the minimum cumulative GPA requirement of 3.3, Ordian repeated as an Academic All-District selection in back-to-back years. In addition, she was selected to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Second Team. With this achievement, she gains her second-consecutive Academic All-America award, following last year's Third-Team nod.
Finally, it was announced by the WGCA that Ordian, K. Gordon, and R. Gordon were tabbed All-American Scholars. They all exceeded the minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5, which ranks as one of the most stringent scholarly criteria in college sports.
With a small but mighty roster, the Bulldog women's golf team shined throughout the 2016-17 campaign with plenty of awards, quality outings, and consistent contributions. Although the graduation of three quality competitors is significant, Redlands looks forward to the next wave of women's golfers to combine efforts with the returning crew for a formidable formula of future success under Head Coach Jack Stewart.