SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly will defend its inaugural Big West Conference women's golf championship in the 2018 event to be held Sunday through Tuesday at the Strawberry Farms Golf Course in Irvine.
Coach Sofie Aagaard's Mustangs will send four of the five Mustangs who played in last year's title-winning march into the 2018 finals, a three-day, 54-hole event on the 6,038-yard, par-71 course, with 18 holes to be played each day.
Mallory Muehlbauer (pictured with Aagaard at right), who finished seventh in the 2017 Big West finals, Desiree Gillaspy (10th), Sophie Bergland (21st) and Jamie Harada (34th) all return for this year's championship.
Jamie Binns, who finished fourth in the 2017 finals, will miss this year's event due to injury.
Cal Poly edged UC Riverside by one stroke, 887-888, on the Highlanders' home course, the Oak Quarry Golf Club, to claim its first Big West team title in women's golf.
Likely favored to win this year is Long Beach State, though five other teams are ranked close to the 49ers by Golfstat.com.
With six top-five finishes this season, Long Beach State is ranked 68th, followed by UC Davis (79), Hawai'i (87), Cal Poly (96), UC Irvine (98) and UC Riverside (104). Cal State Fullerton (146) and CSUN (154) round out the eight-team field.
UC Davis won six straight Big West titles until UC Riverside ended the streak two years ago at Kapalua, Hawai'i.
Four golfers from Big West schools are in Golfstat.com's list of its top 250 golfers, led by Samantha Hutchison of UC Davis at No. 111.
Christine Danielsson of UC Davis is ranked 164th, Haley Tygret of Long Beach State 239th and Cal Poly's Caroline Cantlay 250th. Cantlay replaces Binns in the Mustangs' lineup this week.
Gillaspy sports a 74.9 scoring average, followed by Cantlay at 75.5 and Bergland at 76.7.
Seeds have been determined for this year's event, with No. 1 Long Beach State and No. 2 UC Davis to tee off at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.
No. 3 Hawai'i, No. 4 Cal Poly and No. 5 UC Irvine will tee off at 9:15 a.m., with No. 6 UC Riverside, No. 7 Cal State Fullerton and No. 8 CSUN set to go at 10 a.m.
Admission is free.
The four NCAA regional sites, with competition scheduled for May 7-9, are Stanford, Tallahassee, Fla., Austin, Tex., and Madison, Wisc.
The 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships will be hosted May 17-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla.