To anyone deep in the golf world, Inverness Club is more than just a course.

Located in Toledo, Ohio, the historic club has hosted some of the sport’s most prestigious events, including four U.S. Opens, a pair of PGA Championships and the U.S. Amateur.

And Monday and Tuesday, women collegiate golfers walked the fairways during the Glass City Invitational. Among the pack was the Michigan women’s golf team, which shot 10-over par for a second-place finish in its first competition of the season. Florida got in the clubhouse four strokes better than the Wolverines to best the 13-team field.

“It’s a great start to our season,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “It was pretty special to be playing at such a historic venue as Inverness.” 

Sophomore Sophia Trombetta, freshman Hailey Borja and senior Hannah Ghelfi were Michigan’s three keys to success, finishing third, tied for fourth and tied for ninth, respectively. Sophomore Ashley Lau and junior Ashley Kim also started for the team and finished 37th and 40th, respectively.

“Our returners worked hard and we have a strong freshman class,” Dowling said. “The group of nine of them are really pushing each other to be better. Our hard work is already starting to pay off.”

Distance is a critical aspect of Trombetta’s game. This week, her length off the tee helped turn short holes into scoring opportunities by providing wedge shots into many of the greens.

“She’s a really good wedge player,” Dowling said. “She had wedges in her hand a lot and just took advantage of it.”

Trombetta sat in sixth after Monday’s opening two rounds at one-over par. She carded a 71 on Tuesday, though, to jump three spots on the leaderboard. Her jump fueled the team’s movement from fourth place on Monday to runner-up.

Meanwhile, Borja excelled in the first event of her collegiate career. She led the team on the first day, with a 143 (71-72) after 36 holes, at third overall. 

“It’s a nice start to her collegiate career,” Dowling said. “She’s a really solid ball-striker — doesn’t miss many fairways, doesn’t miss many greens.”

Dowling had seen Borja compete in person prior to Monday while recruiting her, but this was her first time watching up close, and Dowling enjoyed the new perspective. The freshman’s steadiness stood out to the coach, and she was also pleased that Borja was in contention to win her first event.

“She’s got a very mature process of how to hit golf shots,” Dowling said. “She seems like she’s a veteran out there already. Nothing seems to faze her at all.”

When playing a landmark course like Inverness, rewriting history is a tall task — there are too many major Sundays to compete with.

Yet Michigan still made the most out of the outing. This tournament marked the Wolverines’ best finish since the 2016-17 season.

Dowling hopes to use this performance as a building block for the rest of the season.

“It shows a lot of the talent this team has and what they’re capable of,” Dowling said. “We got in contention to win a golf tournament, and it was just a really great experience for our team.”

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