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Monday, October 20, 2014

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Women's golf turns in disappointing Big Ten Championships performance

By Nathaniel Clark, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 27, 2014

It was not the weekend the Michigan women’s golf team was hoping for.

Even though the Wolverines were in a tight race after Friday’s play, the wind quickly blew away their chance at topping last year’s 10th-place showing. Michigan finished 11th out of 12 teams at the Big Ten Championships with a team score of 938, seven strokes behind 10th place Nebraska.

Perhaps even more aggravating for Michigan was seeing archrivals Michigan State and Ohio State tie for first place — 43 strokes ahead of the Wolverines.

“The wind and the course conditions made for very tough playing conditions this weekend,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “Friday was probably the toughest day, but all three days were difficult. Our biggest issue was that we made far too many mistakes, which led to a lot of big numbers.”

But not everything for the Wolverines was negative though this weekend. Freshman Grace Choi was tied for third place out of 72 golfers after Saturday’s play. Her performance included a 70 in the second round, the best round ever for a Michigan golfer in the Big Ten Championships.

“Playing on (Pete Dye Course) requires a lot of imagination and Grace definitely showed imagination, especially in her second round,” Dowling said.

Sunday was not as kind to Choi. She could only muster an 85 in a round that was devoid of birdies with four double-bogeys, which dropped her into a tie for 34th. Her total score of 234 was still enough to lead the Wolverines for the fifth time this season.

Sophomore Catherine Peters was Michigan’s most consistent golfer this weekend, tying for 37th. She was also the only Wolverine not to have a round over 79 all weekend.

“It takes a lot of mental toughness to play on this course,” Dowling said. “Catherine really showed that quality the whole weekend.”

Senior Alyssa Shimel ran into major troubles on the 15th hole of the second round, taking 10 strokes to reach the hole, six more than par. She was still able to salvage an 82 for the round and a total score of 249, good for 54th place.

“Alyssa was definitely disappointed with this weekend,” Dowling said. “But she played tough, as did all of our seniors.”

The first two rounds were both tough on junior Lauren Grogan, as she shot an 81 and 85 in the two rounds, respectively. Her second round featured a quadruple bogey on the 14th hole, a triple bogey on the first hole and two more double bogeys. She bounced back in the third round with a 79 to nab a 63rd-place showing.

“Lauren’s ball striking improved markedly in the third round,” Dowling said. “She also had a lot more confidence.”

The Wolverines’ biggest comeback came from senior Yungee Lee. Fresh off of an injury, her first round fell flat. She shot a 90 with two triple bogeys and four double bogeys. Yet she became Michigan’s best in the second and third rounds with respective scores of 78 and 77, good enough to claw her way into a 63rd place tie with Grogan. Lee’s third round included three birdies, something that was absent from her first two rounds.

“It was really great to see (Yungee) have an awesome third round after being injured all week,” Dowling said.