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College golf: UCLA's Carrie Forsyth, the sweet taste of success

Valencia resident Forsyth leads UCLA to second national title

Posted: May 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.

UCLA women’s head golf coach Carrie Forsyth, a Valencia resident and 1989 Canyon High graduate, led the Bruins to their second national championship on May 21.

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The second time around can sometimes be even sweeter.

At least those were the sentiments of UCLA women's head golf coach Carrie Forsyth, whose team claimed its second NCAA Division I national championship under her tutelage last week.

Forsyth, a 1989 Canyon High graduate, also coached the Bruins to a title in 2004.

"It was awesome. After our win in 2004, when you win it the first time it's such a big deal, but you're not sure if you can do it again. ... To be able to do it, it's just such an affirmation that we're doing the right things in our program," Forsyth says.

The 12th-year head coach watched her National Golf Coaches Association No. 2-ranked team win nationals last weekend in a four-round tournament at College Station, Texas.

UCLA posted an all-around team score of 1,173, which was 25-over par at the par-72 Traditions Golf Club.

It edged out second-place Purdue University's score of 1,177 and third-place Louisiana State University's 1,181.

Crosstown rival and No. 1-ranked USC finished tied for fifth (1,190).

Beating another powerhouse program like USC is yet another testament to the success at UCLA women's golf, which has now won three national titles since inception in 1971.

"It's really just about trying to help our players get better and trying to help them achieve their goals," says Forsyth, who also played for the school's golf team before graduating in 1994. "A lot of our players are trying to become professional golfers, and we really try to help them achieve their goals."

Forsyth had a stint on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour herself in the 1990s, and a successful career at UCLA before that. In high school, she played for Canyon's boys golf team.

Back then, no girls golf team existed at the school, so Forsyth played through most of high school as the only girl on the team until a friend joined in her senior year. She lettered all four years with the Cowboys and was named team MVP as a senior.

She now lives with her husband, James, and their three children in Valencia, where both she and her husband grew up.

During her tenure at UCLA, which began in 1999, Forsyth has guided the program to a school-record 10 straight NCAA Championship berths, in addition to the two national titles.

Her coaching career began at Cal State Northridge, where she led the school's first women's golf program from 1996-99.

As Forsyth describes it, she fell into the job.

"I consider myself an accidental golf coach," she says. "I didn't really plan on making a career out of it."

She attributes much of her success to a recruiting strategy that targets athletes with an ideal mixture of talent, character and work ethic.

It also helps that she coaches in an area with an abundant amount of talent. Of the 10 members of the championship golf team, seven came from Southern California high schools - none from the Santa Clarita Valley, though.

Not yet, anyway. But that could change.

"I pretty much know who's who around here," Forsyth says. "A lot of good golfers from around here have come and gone on the women's side."

 

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