Quinnipiac women’s golf claims third-straight MAAC championship


Photo via Quinnipiac Athletics

The Quinnipiac women’s golf program set multiple records in its championship performance this past weekend.

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

 Palm Golf Course in Florida, the Quinnipiac women’s golf team dominated its way to its third-straight MAAC title and fifth in program history. The Bobcats shot 29 strokes better than second place Albany and placed three golfers inside the top three. 

“I need all five of them to play well,” head coach John O’Connor said to Quinnipiac Athletics prior to the tournament. “They (have) got to be focused, they (have) got to be ready to put together good scores.” 

And focused they were. 

To claim the trophy on Sunday, Quinnipiac shot 291–292–290 — 873 (+9), setting a new MAAC best to break its own record from a year prior. Sophomore Fuge Zhang and seniors Leeyen Peralta and Kaylee Sakoda all ranked in the top three in the tournament. 

Zhang was named the 2023 MAAC Golfer of the Year, the fourth time a Bobcat was given the award. For the trio, they were all named all-conference, the first time in program history that the Bobcats held the top three spots. 

The spring season was a dominant one for the Bobcats, as the MAAC Tournament was the 11th time they finished in the top 10 of the event. 

“We have more time in between events to prepare,” Sakoda said to Quinnipiac Athletics about the differences between the spring and winter seasons. “During the winter, it’s a little tough with the tough weather.” 

On the first day, the Bobcats set a conference record, shooting 291 (+3) in the first round. That was good enough for the lowest total score by a school in MAAC history. They also paced the tournament with 57 birdies on the first day. 

To follow that up, Quinnipiac continued to pull ahead the next day. Extending their stroke lead to 14, the Bobcats saw Zhang (-2) and Peralta (E) lock up the first two spots on the leaderboard. 

Both Peralta and Sakoda, who were named captains of this program for this season, strived pre-tournament to lead the Bobcats to a championship. 

“As captains, me and Kaylee try and lead by example,” Peralta said. “We all lift each other up … our teammates are going to help us.” 

On Sunday, Zhang set another MAAC record. Shooting a 72 for her third round, her -2 weekend was the best by a golfer at any MAAC Championship event. Sakoda also had a round to remember, as she shot -3 

To round out Quinnipiac’s weekend, sophomore Meg Yoshida (+16) finished tied for 15th place and junior Aimee Uchida (+22) finished tied for 28th. 

The Bobcats will now prepare for the NCAA Tournament in one of six regional locations. Their first round match will be announced Wednesday, April 26 at 1 p.m. on the Golf Channel. 

Potential locations include the University of Georgia Golf Course, PGA National Resort Palm Beach (Florida), the Palouse Ridge Golf Club (Washington), the Lonnie Poole Golf Course (North Carolina), TPC San Antonio (Texas) and The Club at Chatham Hills (Indiana). 

“It’s huge,” O’Connor said. “Winning the MAAC is always critical for us, it gives us a chance to play at the next level at Regionals and that’s a whole different level. I aspire to be the best coach at Quinnipiac with the best team … hopefully that will come.”