Spurred by freshman Ashley Kim, the Michigan women’s golf team came out strong at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C. At the end of Friday’s opening round, the Wolverines sat in first with a team total of 291 — their best of the spring season.
But the team wasn’t aware that it led the field. The tournament had a shotgun start with 36 continuous holes on Friday. There was never a moment to cherish the lead.
Michigan couldn’t keep up the record pace. The team carded a 309 later on Friday to move into 10th. And Saturday, the Wolverines battled harsh weather and shot a 310 to finish in eighth. Wake Forest topped the 17-team field with an 888 three-day total — 22 strokes better than Michigan.
Due to her solid play early on Friday, Kim sat tied for fourth with an even-par 72 heading into the afternoon. There, she carded a 74 to drop into a tie for ninth. Senior Emily White also excelled for the Wolverines during the first two rounds, reaching 24th place with a two-day total of 149.
Michigan coach Jan Dowling was pleased with her team’s stellar play — especially putting — that helped it lead early on.
“Just phenomenal golf for our program and a much-needed confidence booster for our team as well,” Dowling said about the opening round. “To be totally honest, we haven’t played our best golf in a couple tournaments. It was nice for the team to see what we are capable of.
“The team started to see some putts fall, which was a really nice thing.”
Rough playing conditions made Saturday difficult. The fairways were drenched from pouring rain, and heavy winds worsened the situation.
With the tough conditions, Kim and White slipped up. They both tallied scores of 78 on Saturday and finished the tournament in 12th and 29th, respectively. The team as a whole, though, did damage control and gave up only one double bogey on the day.
The tournament marked Kim’s third consecutive time leading the team. The southern California native is used to playing in pleasant conditions. Since the start of her freshman year, she’s worked with the coaching staff on controlling her trajectory, and this helped her score well over the weekend. Dowling closely followed her performance.
“What was really fun for us to see was her play so well in difficult conditions. It was kind of a new experience for her,” Dowling said. “A top-12 finish in that field, as a freshman on that golf course, is really impressive.”
Sophomore Alisa Snyder, junior Elodie Van Dievoet and sophomore Hannah Ghelfi also competed for the Wolverines and finished 40th, 47th and 63rd, respectively.
“There are certainly a lot of positives to take away,” Dowling said. “It was a great field and a hard golf course.”