The circumstances weren’t advantageous for the Michigan women’s golf team this past weekend at the Landfall Tradition tournament in Wilmington, N.C. But that’s what’s expected when competing in a tournament fielding 13 of 18 teams ranked in the top 50 on a challenging course in inclement weather.
And yet, the Wolverines finished in a formidable 13th place. The team finished at 27-over par (296, 303, 292) over the course of three days and 54 holes. Junior Ashley Kim was the top individual performer, finishing 2-over par and tied for 17th place.
Michigan felt like it had something to prove. Coming into this high-level tournament, the last of the fall season, the Wolverines hoped to finish on a high note and gain some momentum for the offseason before the year picks up in February.
“We had quite a few flashes of some high-level golf,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “In our final round, we really played quite well. I think we had a little bit of something to prove. We were the fourth-lowest team score (on the last day). This was definitely a moral victory.”
Going into the final day of the tournament, Michigan was in 15th place and focused on moving up in the standings. They accomplished this by limiting their mistakes and capitalizing and staying in control on par 5s. In the final round, they were 3-under par on such holes.
There were plenty of positives to take away from this tournament, like Kim’s continued consistency and good play. This was Kim’s second top-20 individual finish in four events. In the first round, she shot 2-under par, notching her third under-par round of the season. Her play this tournament reaffirmed everything she has been working on throughout the summer and fall.
“It was nice for her to see (her hard work) come together on a hard golf course in some pretty tough conditions,” Dowling said. “That’s only going to build some confidence for her. She is working on the right things and that validates the work she has done.”
Sophomore Ashley Lau followed Kim by finishing the tournament 6-over par (72, 76, 74) and tied for 39th place. This was her second top-50 finish of the season.
As a collective, Michigan was excited to compete against some of the best talent from around the country. While it did not finish as well as they did in similar caliber tournaments at the beginning of the season, this tournament showed what they are capable of.
“If you look at our schedule we are constantly trying to play against the best teams on some great golf courses,” Dowling said. “That really prepares us for the big picture which is the postseason and the NCAA championships. It’s a really big challenge but it’s also something that our team welcomes every time we tee it up. It’s always a great opportunity and we embrace it as much as we can.”
The Wolverines do not compete in another tournament until February but will use this time off to prepare for the spring season.
“The idea for the spring just keep building on those flashes of brillance we had,” Dowling said. “It shows our capability. We have a great lineup of tournaments in the spring and have some nice changes to work on our games, compete, and spend some good time over the winter to make some improvements in our consistency.”