Heading into the Big Ten Championship in Maineville, OH., the Michigan women’s golf team knew it needed to win for any legitimate chance of qualifying for the NCAA Regional tournament.
But the Wolverines couldn’t surmount the heaping task and finished seventh with a score of 883, thus ending their season. Michigan State scored 24 strokes better than Michigan to top the 14-team field.
The Wolverines struggled during Friday’s opening round and carded a score of 298. Though they fared better during the weekend—shooting scores of 290 and 295 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively— it wasn’t enough to bounce back and extend the season.
“It’s a tough golf course and a tough layout,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “Didn’t quite have it that first day and kind of dug a little bit of a hole. Really resilient the next two days.”
The difficulties in scoring consistently throughout the tournament were not a new occurrence. Dowling noted it’s been a challenge all season.
“Overall, I’d say two out of our three rounds were pretty solid,” Dowling said. “Couldn’t quite get over the hump of putting three rounds together at this tournament and kind of for most of our year.”
The need to win can create high expectations and a sense of urgency, but Dowling mentioned the players stuck to the plan and didn’t let the circumstances get in the way.
“That’s a difficult place to be in,” Dowling said. “I’m sure everyone was thinking about it, but we knew we needed to focus on our process and taking care of our own business and executing shots. … I’d say we did that this week, it was just a really tall pack.”
Senior Kathy Lim fired off a one-under 71 on Friday and was tied for fifth heading into the weekend. Though she didn’t keep up the stellar pace, she still finished well and tied junior Elodie Van Dievoet at two-over for 19th place to lead the Wolverines.
Four others also competed for Michigan. Freshman Ashley Kim and sophomore Alisa Snyder tied for 43rd place while senior Emily White and sophomore Hannah Ghelfi shared 65th.
The Wolverines scored eight strokes better Saturday compared to Friday. The improvement was sparked by a solid one-under-par (71) round from Snyder, and Dowling was pleased by her success.
“That was really great,” Dowling said. “She’s really gaining some confidence and getting more and more comfortable out there and really scoring well at the collegiate level. … She’s definitely learning her way around the golf course, and it’s exciting to see the progress.”
The tournament marked the ending of collegiate golf careers for White, Lim and senior Megan Kim who did not compete. The trio was Dowling’s first recruiting class at Michigan and has had its share of successes over the years, including advancing to two National Championships.
“It’s kinda hard to put into words what they’ve done for our team,” Dowling said. “All three of them came in with the notion of really putting Michigan women’s golf on the map.… Pretty impressive what they’ve done in four years. They’ve changed our program, I mean that’s the bottom line. They’ve worked hard and achieved a lot.”
“They’re phenomenal people and phenomenal student athletes. They’re well equipped for their next step and certainly worked hard in their four years to do that. They’ve been pretty great.”