SAN DIEGO — The women’s golf team at Cal State San Marcos continues to make history.
The Cougars currently rank fourth in the nation for Division II, the first time any program at San Marcos has broken into the top five, and Encinitas native Jaime Jacob has a lot to do with that.
Before Jacob picked up a golf club, she was a competitive swimmer alongside her older sister Michelle, who she admits was the better swimmer.
“It’s kind of required in our family to play a sport or do something physical, so the deal was I could quit swim if I found another sport,” said Jacob. “So I tried volleyball, I tried soccer and my dad was finally like, ‘Why don’t you try golf?'”
Jacob gave it a shot in elementary school, and to her surprise, it was a perfect fit. The La Costa Canyon grad was a four-time team MVP for the Mavericks, and that’s where she caught the attention of San Marcos head coach Greg Hutton.
“I knew that once we got Jaime, that was going to change the program, because once the local girls that were playing saw that she came to play for us, it was going to change how we recruited. And it did. It immediately changed everything for us,” said Hutton.
When it came to choosing a college, Jacob had Division I offers to several out of state schools, but she decided on San Marcos because of the promising future of the program — one she’s currently shaping, one swing at a time.
“He wanted me to be a part of that plan, where this team is going to compete at nationals and have a chance,” said Jacob. “That was the best selling point to me than I got from any other schools is a coach that wanted to win.”
The Cougars have won five of their last seven tournaments and are currently ranked fourth in the nation in Division II, making them the first team in school history to crack a top five ranking.
“The one thing that’s really unique about this team is they are ultra competitive,” said Hutton. “They want to beat each other’s brains out on the golf course, and you know, everybody’s trying to catch the person in front of them all the time and that’s good. A lot of team’s don’t have that.”
Nor do they have six different golfers ranked in the top 100. Jacob ranks highest for the Cougars as sixth in the nation and fourth in average scoring, statistics that come with expectations.
“It started to stress me out, because every time I would play a bad round, I’d think about my average and my ranking,” said Jacob. “But I’ve learned from that and just know that that’s not going to work. So I’m still aware of it, but I think with the experience that I’ve had, I’m able to keep it in the back of my head, know it’s there and just play my game.”
“She knows the expectations are greater and it’s just another test for her, but it’s a test that she’s definitely going to be able to pass,” said Hutton.
The Cougars next tournament is the West Texas A&M Desert Invitational.