The Michigan women’s golf team didn’t have a five-star dining experience at the Ruth Chris’ Tar Heel Invitational. The Wolverines struggled, placing 13 out of 18 teams and shot an 87 for 14-over par.
In a field that involved 13 teams in the top 50, No. 37 Michigan couldn’t get into a good flow. Still, Michigan coach Jan Dowling embraced the challenge.
“We’re competing against the best because we want to be one of the best,” Dowling said. “We have high expectations for ourselves and that’s why we put ourselves in these fields and to have the opportunity to do it. And the team embraces that. It just didn’t work out very well for us this week.”
Scoring above par was a theme for the Wolverines this weekend. As a team, Michigan could not get its putting going, which is critical in tough tournaments like this one.
“The scores were pretty low,” Dowling said. “We needed at least one or two people under par and some soul scoring, but no one really got it. So, if we could improve one thing, it’d be making a few more putts.”
The lineup featured three freshman, with Anika Dy and Mikaela Schulz making their first starts and Hailey Borja making her third career start. Their results may have not been astounding, but the progress they made was important.
Freshman Anika Dy finished her first round shooting 70 for 2-under par, which Dowling thought was an impressive score in her starting debut.
“She’s a gamer,” Dowling said. “Just in our first observation with her, she seeks to elevate her game in competition, and that’s what we were looking for. It was fantastic. Bright future for sure.”
Not only did Dy shoot under par, but she was also able to string together four straight birdies. She finished the next two rounds with a 74 for 2-over par and 73 for 1-over par, finishing the tournament with a score of 217 for 1-over par. She led the Wolverines with the best score and finished tied for 27th individually, an impressive feat in a crowded field.
Schulz didn’t have a great tournament, shooting 229 for 13-over par. However, she was able to cut down strokes each day after a rough start shooting an 80 for 8-over par, finishing her final round with a 73 for 1-over par.
Hailey Borja put together a solid tournament with a combined score of 218 for 2-over par and tied for 32nd individually. Borja broke even in her last two rounds, after finishing two shots over par in the first round.
“Hailey’s been super consistent as a freshman for three tournaments in a row now,” Dowling said. “She’s had quite a few rounds around par and that’s been huge for us.”
Borja made her starting debut at the Glass City Invitational and finished fourth overall, the best finish for a Michigan freshman since 1995. In her next tournament, the Windy City Collegiate Championship, she scored 217 for 1-over par for the second tournament in a row and was also the third-highest finisher in the Big Ten in the tournament. Borja continued her consistency this past weekend, slowly making her a vital part of the team.
“It’s been nice to have her in the lineup,” Dowling said.
The Wolverines burnt their opportunity to compete against good competition this weekend, but the team will have plenty of room for growth.