Aggies jump seven spots as they look for another berth in national finals
The 2011-12 season marks the fourth for head coach Anne Walker who has taken a program that made a strong debut at the NCAA Division I level in 2007-08 and has moved it into the top echelon of collegiate golf. In her previous three seasons she has led the Aggies to a pair of Big West Conference championships, two team appearances in the NCAA Championships - including a trip to the NCAA Finals in 2011 - and the program's first-ever top-20 national ranking.
UC Davis has been represented at the NCAA Championships each of her three seasons, including individual regional appearances by Alice Kim and Chelsea Stelzmiller in 2009. Kim went on to earn All-America honorable mention accolades after finishing eighth at the NCAA Finals.
Distinctions have been many for the Aggies under Walker but one of the top performances came at the 2009 Turtle Bay Invitational when UC Davis rolled to a nine-shot victory over UCLA, one of three top 10 teams in the prestigious tournament. The title was one of three that year for the Aggies who also won the Fresno State Lexus Classic in addition to the Big West banner.
Kim, who graduated last June, capped the Aggies' year by being named UC Davis' Hubert Heitman Award winner as the top female athlete in 2010, one of her many honors.
Last season was another memorable one for Walker. Besides dominating the competition on their way to winning the Big West title by an impressive 18 strokes, the Aggies won the Fresno State Lexus Classic, had seven other top-five showings, including a third-place at the NCAA West Regional, and never finished lower than seventh. Four Aggies earned All-Big West first-team honors, five were honored by the league overall, and sophomore Demi Runas was named the conference's Player of the Year while Walker herself was named Coach of the Year for the second time.
UC Davis' success last year vaulted it into the national spotlight with the program rising to 14th in the Golfstat rankings, its highest-ever ranking.
Entering 2011-12, UC Davis has won five tournaments under Walker.
Walker, former University of California, Berkeley associate head coach, replaced Kathy DeYoung, the program's first coach who retired in 2008.
Walker, who twice earned medalist honors and was a three-time captain for the Golden Bears, joined her alma mater's staff after graduating in 2002. She served as assistant coach until 2007 when she was elevated to associate head coach.
In that role, Walker was involved in nearly every aspect of Cal's program, including recruiting, marketing, administration and fundraising. She also helped coordinate team travels to Japan, Mexico and Scotland.
Walker was a three-time All-Pac-10 Conference selection at Cal, earned All-America Scholar honors from the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) of America three years and was the 2002 Pac-10 Medal winner. From 2000-02, she was a member of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics.