Record-breaking performances and a rough final round for women's golf at Onion Creek Challenge

BY ZACH HELFAND
For the Daily
Published November 2, 2010

Record setting performances in the first two rounds of the Challenge at Onion Creek in Austin, Tex. boosted the Michigan women’s golf team to within one shot of the lead on Monday, but a cold, windy final round on Tuesday brought scores back to earth and dropped the team to a seventh-place finish.

Senior Min Yean Tan’s career-low three-under par 67 in the second round was just two strokes off the Michigan single-round record. She sat atop the leader board going into the final round, but a 10-stroke-over par day gave her a sixth-place finish.

“I was disappointed because I expected to win,” Tan said. “(Monday), I played well, but today I just could not get anything together. … I think my focus was a little off, and I had to finish strong, but I didn’t.”

Tan was not alone in her struggles in the final round. All 15 teams, including the winner, Iowa State, had their worst scoring round on Tuesday.

Michigan's five players combined for 50 bogeys on the day, in addition to three double bogeys and two triple bogeys. The Wolverines hit just four birdies as their four scoring players finished 44-over par for the round.

Junior Meagan Bauer turned in the low score for the team on Tuesday, shooting a 77 and finishing 11th overall. Her one-under par 69 in the second round was a career best.

A record-breaking second round on Monday helped to negate the rough final day. The team’s score of 285 broke the previous Michigan single-round record of 287 set by three previous squads.

Michigan women's golf coach Cheryl Stacy cited promising play from freshmen Yugene Lee and Chelsea Pezzola who finished tied for 43rd, and freshman Alyssa Shimel who came in at 56th.

“I was very encouraged,” Stacy said. “It gives them confidence to know that they can shoot those low rounds and now we just have to learn to finish it off … especially when the conditions are bad, that’s when you want to capitalize.”

Tan and Bauer were especially sharp during the first two rounds, combining for 15 birdies on Monday. After a double bogey on the 16th hole in the first round, Tan went on a tear with birdies on five consecutive holes for the shotgun start tournament. Both Bauer and Tan finished with career 54-hole bests, shooting 217 and 221 respectively.

“Those were the kinds of scores I expected of myself,” Tan said. “It seems like if somebody plays well, everybody plays well. But if somebody plays bad, everybody plays bad. ... It’s all mental.”

Tan added that the team must focus on handling pressure situations more effectively.

“We just needed to play decent,” Tan said. “We didn’t have to play great to win, and we played terrible. Everyone is going to keep working hard and look forward to next season.”