Seniors to lead women’s golf

Looking ahead to next year’s women’s golf team, the Mountaineers will return with the most experienced and talented group of golfers they’ve had in recent history.

With the top four players returning for their senior seasons, head coach Heather Brown expects her team to improve on this season’s success.

“We will have four people back that have a lot of experience,” Coach Brown said. “Morale is really high right now and hopefully we can ride the momentum we have right now into next year.”

Junior Rumbi Masamvu led this season’s Mountaineer squad in stroke average at 77.46 in her breakout season.  Recently, she discussed how different it was for her to be viewed as the No.1 player on the team.

“Ever since I have been here, I have always been playing behind somebody else on the team,” Masamvu said. “It’s a different feeling when people look to you to put up a score to kind of set the pace for the rest of the team. It’s a different kind of pressure that I had to get used to.”

Masamvu just beat out junior Yue “JoJo” Xu for the top spot on the team.

Xu finished the season with a 77.63 overall stroke average. The junior from China has a lengthy and successful college golf resume that includes the SoCon individual title her freshman season. Heading into her final season, Xu feels her team is going in the right direction.

“Golf is such an individual sport, it can be hard to really grasp the team concept sometimes,” Xu said. “I feel like we have really come together and we know how to push and support each other now.”

Junior Lauren Smith had a successful year in her first season as a Mountaineer, after transferring from UNC-Greensboro. Smith solidified the No.3 spot on the team, finishing with a 78.38 stroke average on the season.

A fourth junior, Mimi Burke, will be back for her last season at ASU. This season, Burke showed flashes of talent that could help solidify the team’s depth, as she had a low round of 71.

Coach Brown thinks Burke could shave a few strokes off her 82.31 stroke average from this season if she could develop more consistency.

“Mimi would have a great round going, and then one or two holes would really make her score look higher than how she played,” Coach Brown said, “If she can get a little more consistent it will really help her and the team.”

The No.5 spot heading into next season will be contested between returning freshman Elena Thomas and a group of newcomers Coach Brown signed for next season.

“Elena gained some valuable experience this year as freshman,” Coach Brown said. “She is a really talented player and I look forward to seeing how much she improves over the summer.”

Story: TYLER WOOD, Sports Reporter