Wolverines finish fall season in North Carolina

Sunday, October 29, 2017 - 4:24pm

The Michigan women’s golf team wrapped up a challenging fall season with optimism for the spring.

The Michigan women’s golf team wrapped up a challenging fall season with optimism for the spring. Buy this photo
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The Michigan women’s golf team looked to finish the season on its own terms over the weekend. Instead, the rain finished it for them.

The Wolverines competed in what was supposed to be a three-day tournament at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C. The weather was fine the first two days. On Sunday, though, play was cancelled due to thunderstorms and constant rain.

“The course was just unplayable,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “The greens were, you know, flooded with water and the bunkers and some of the fairways, too.”

So it turned out to be just a two-day event, in which Michigan finished in 11th place with a total score of 593. Duke topped the field with a score of 562 31 strokes better than the Wolverines.

Michigan played reasonably well during the two rounds — especially considering the elite competition. It was quite the 18-team field, consisting of some of the best teams in the country such as Alabama, Florida and Furman.

“We definitely beat some teams ranked quite a bit higher than us,” Dowling said. “I think that will help us going forward just to build some confidence going into the spring season.”

Junior Elodie Van Dievoet led the Wolverines through Friday’s opening round, carding a one-under 71 to sit in 16th place at the end of the day. But she failed to replicate her solid first round as she carded a score of 80, falling to 55th place on Saturday.

Michigan’s other golfers played fairly well on Friday, but weren’t able to stay under par. The Wolverines were in a tie for 12th place moving into the second day.

On Saturday, it was senior Kathy Lim who stepped up. It was her first time truly leading the team, and she tallied an even par 72. Her quality play moved her 12 spots up the leaderboard, and she finished in 23rd place with a total score of 146.

“It was a real team effort this week for sure just because we had different people stepping up on different days,” Dowling said.

Under Lim’s leadership, Michigan moved one spot up the leaderboard.

Senior Emily White, sophomore Hannah Ghelfi and freshman Ashley Kim started for the team as well, finishing in 39th, 69th and 73rd out of the 96-player field, respectively. It was Ghelfi’s first time competing in the starting lineup.

Had the final round not been cancelled, it could have worked to the Wolverines’ advantage. Being from Michigan, the team is familiar with battling tough conditions. Playing a third round in the rain could have helped the team move up the leaderboard.

“We have really mentally strong players on our team,” Dowling said. “When the weather is bad, it’s an advantage to be mentally strong and kind of embrace the weather, and our team does a pretty good job with that.”

This tournament marked the end of the fall season, and though the team won’t compete again until February, it will continue to work during the offseason.

Playing a challenging fall schedule and frequently facing top teams, the Wolverines struggled to find consistency, and never seemed to fully seize the opportunities.

“We played a really strong fall season — and we knew that heading into it — and I knew the team could handle it,” Dowling said. “We’ve made some nice progress but I feel like we’ve left a lot out on the table as well. … We got a lot to accomplish over the winter break.”

Overall, the Wolverines had a decent fall season. They found leadership in their upperclassmen, and some of the underclassmen shined as well. Although they never managed a top-three finish, Michigan has shown it has talent across the roster. If the Wolverines can put everything together over the winter, they could possibly find some success in the spring.

But they’ll have to wait to find out.