Michigan takes second place at Hoya Invitational

By Nathaniel Clark, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 1, 2014

The cherry blossoms weren’t the only thing blooming in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Michigan finished second at the Hoya Invitational at Georgetown with a total score of 611, just four behind first-place Pennsylvania. No Wolverine finished lower than 20th out of 86 golfers.

The match was shortened from 54 to 36 holes due to inclement weather Monday and Sunday’s practice round was also scrapped.

“It was another solid tournament,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “We overcame the bad weather in the first round and played even better in the second round. I was really proud of the way we finished.”

Michigan’s best finish came from junior Lauren Grogan. She finished in a tie for second with a score of 150, just four strokes behind Pennsylvania’s Amanda Chin. Grogan’s performance included five birdies.

“Lauren played really well under pressure,” Dowling said. “That was something really great to see.”

Freshman Grace Choi also put up another impressive performance. Fresh off her second-place finish at the Clover Cup Invitational, she shot a 73 in the second round to place fourth with a total score of 151. Choi had four birdies in the match.

“Although (Choi’s) shot handling wasn’t quite what she wanted it to be, she felt great about her second round,” Dowling said. “Her finish was really strong.”

Senior Yugene Lee made a huge jump with her performance. Following her 64th-place showing at the Clover Cup, she tied for 10th with 155, which included a 75 in the second round. It was her highest finish since the 2012 Big Ten Championships, where she placed second.

Fellow senior Alyssa Shimel bounced back from finishing 58th at the Clover Cup and placed into a tie for 20th place with 158. Her performance included three birdies and one eagle.

Sophomore Catherine Peters rounded out Michigan’s scoring, tying with Shimel for 20th, including four birdies.

“Catherine is a great athlete,” Dowling said. “She had a great performance and finished much better than at the Clover Cup.”

The Wolverines’ second-place finish was their best showing of the season and their best since winning the Rio Verde Intercollegiate Invitational in March 2010. Michigan also finished fourth at the Clover Cup Invitational two weeks ago. Dowling attributed the success to the team buying into what the coaching staff is selling, and establishing a good routine, which has increased confidence.

With the Wolverines’ recent improvement, it’s tempting to look ahead to the Big Ten Championships, but Dowling is making sure to keep Michigan focused on next week’s Marsh Landing Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla.

“You have to take it one day at a time,” Dowling said. “We’re going to continue to make adjustments and fine tune our game so that we can continue getting better. It will also be nice to be able to finally practice outside.”