The Michigan women’s golf team entered the Bryan National Collegiate this weekend determined to change the course of its season. With just one victory to their name this season, the Wolverines looked to flip the script at the Bryan Park Golf Course in Greensboro, N.C. and gain momentum in preparation for postseason play starting in late April.
“We were feeling good coming into the event,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “Our expectations were to shoot the lowest scores we can every day and seeing where that puts us.”
The Bryan National Collegiate has been notorious over its 22-year history for its poor weather. This weekend, however, the climate and course conditions were unusually pleasant, perhaps a fateful sign that Michigan would rise to the top of the leaderboard with the regular season winding down.
That was not the case.
On Friday, the Wolverines began the tournament by shooting 11 shots over par to score an overall score of 299, placing the team in ninth place out of 17 teams after round one. Freshman Sophia Trombetta led Michigan by posting a 73, tying for 16th on the individual leaderboard.
The Wolverines also received reinforcement from freshman Ashley Lau and junior Hannah Ghelfi, who both shot at 74.
“(Lau) was consistent all week and she gave herself a lot of chances to make birdie and hit a lot of good putts,” Dowling said. “As a freshman, she’s just one of most even-keeled and mature players I’ve coached.”
During the second round of the tournament, Michigan fell further down the leaderboard, shooting five shots worse than it had on Friday. Lau scored another 74, yet the Wolverines now stood in 11th place after 36 holes.
Although the team had fallen 47 strokes behind the leading No. 13 Wake Forest entering the final round, Michigan maintained its confidence, intensity, and will to win.
“Our spirits were good because there was a lot of confidence that was being built,” Dowling said. “And there were a lot of good stretches from our players and we were excited to come into today.”
The Wolverines internalized that mentality and rebounded to score a 298, their best overall score of the weekend. Lau ended the tournament with Michigan’s lowest individual score, tying for 21st place. After staying in the middle of the pack throughout the weekend, the Wolverines ultimately settled for 10th place in the tournament.
“It’s a big picture goal for us to be going into every tournament that we play in competing to win,” Dowling said. “At the same time, we can also make strong statements whether we’re in 12th place or seventh place or sixth place. You can always move up the leaderboard. There’s always an opportunity to move up and that matters a lot in golf.”
After coming away emptyhanded from the weekend, the team now turns its attention to the Lady Buckeye Invitational in Columbus and looks to build confidence heading into the Big Ten Championships.
“We’ve got a lot of good ammunition to use, particularly from this week,” Dowling said. “Continuing to get better, that’s our expectation.”