By Matthew Kipnis, Daily Sports Writer
Published October 28, 2013
The Michigan women’s golf team wrapped up its final event of the fall Sunday and Monday as it traveled to Kiawah Island, S.C. for the Palmetto Intercollegiate. The tournament field consisted of 19 teams – four of which were top-50 programs.
At the end of round one, Michigan was led by junior Lauren Grogan who shot a plus-3 75 in the first round. Following her was sophomore Catherine Peters, who shot a plus-4 76, which put the Wolverines in ninth out of 19 at the end of the first round. In the second round, the Wolverines’ play started to slip with Grogan finishing 63rd after a plus-20 round which led to a 16th-place finish for the team. Despite the decline, there was a silver lining to be found – freshman Grace Choi.
“It wasn’t our best effort, but there were certainly a lot of positives to take away from the event,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “Grace Choi, as a freshman, has really settled in at Michigan. She really strung together some solid holes this week, and she is on the verge of breaking through as one of the leaders on our team from a scoring perspective. It was great for us as coaches to watch her play some really solid golf, and I know it boosted her confidence as well.”
After finishing the first round with a plus-5 77, Choi climbed the leaderboard. She finished the second and third rounds with a pair of plus-2 74s, jumping up 21 spots to finish tied for 20th – 11 shots behind the leader. Choi joined Grogan as the only other Wolverine to record a top-20 finish this season and had her lowest overall score in a tournament at Michigan so far, shooting a plus-9 225 through 54 holes. She lowered her career best by six strokes when she shot a 231 at the Challenge at Onion Creek.
“This isn’t something new for Grace,” Dowling said. “She was a very solid player coming into college. I think there is a little bit of a transition period as a student at Michigan and being on a team for the first time. She is really starting to get back into her element and starting to play the correct golf she knows she can play.”
Choi is the only freshman starter for Michigan this season. Though that’s a daunting task, she is able to find comfort in the support of the upperclassmen.
“The upperclassmen keep me focused,” Choi said. “I appreciate everything they are doing for me and I feel privileged to play with them and work with such great coaches.”
Now that the Wolverines have concluded the fall portion of their season, Dowling looks forward to seeing what this team has in it for the offseason now present.
“We haven’t come close to our potential as a team yet, and I know that our finishes in our last four events have given us motivation to work hard this winter,” Dowling said. “The team is willing to work hard and be coached which is a wonderful thing. Golf is an individual sport so everyone has different things they need to work. In the wintertime, we are going to work on ball striking, and the main focus will be on our short game and a lot of putting.”