The Michigan women’s golf team’s season has soon ended and, for one graduating senior, it was the final season of a brilliant career.
Senior Ashley Bauer was invited to play as an individual this past weekend at the NCAA Central Regional. Since the team didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament, Bauer traveled to Columbus, Indiana alone. Just two other golfers were there as individuals, and Bauer would have to finish in the top two of the three individuals in order to advance to the next tournament.
Unfortunately, Bauer came up a little short. Her final score of 29 over-par tied her for 76th overall and third among the three individuals.
Bauer battled winds of up to 30 miles per hour throughout the tournament, and watching her struggle in the final weekend of her collegiate career was difficult for her coach of only one year.
“It was tough for me, because I know how bad she wanted to play well,” Michigan coach Cheryl Stacy said. “To finish off the year on kind of a bad note was sad because she had such a great Big Ten Tournament.”
To most people, this tournament was like any other, but for Bauer, competing alone was a different experience to say the least.
“Everything from going out to dinner, to staying in the hotel by myself was pretty different,” Bauer said. “It was kind of an emotional weekend, without the team being there and the season ending.”
But some of the team actually was there.
Bauer’s two younger sisters — Meagan and Shana — who both play on the team, came along for support with the rest of the family, and Stacy said watching the family together after Ashley completed the tournament was one of her fondest memories of the season — Stacy’s first as Michigan’s head coach.
“(Ashley) was the best example of what a Michigan athlete should be, as far as what she did week-in and week-out, her work ethic and her leadership skills,” Stacy said. “She’s probably one of the more coachable players I’ve had the honor to coach. She’s very respectful and just a great person.”
Bauer — who was recently named first team All-Big Ten — has been an “iron woman” for Michigan. She played and started in all 48 events that took place during her four-year career.
Bauer also holds countless records for a program that posted its best team-scoring average in the last five years. She is the all-time record holder for a single-season scoring average (74.51).
She also holds the record for the best single-round total (65) and the record for the best score in 18, 36, 52 and 72-hole tournaments.
“She’s broken almost every record, and people are going to talk about Ashley Bauer for a long time,” Stacy said. “She’s going to inspire so many golfers, because all the girls are going to try to beat her records. She set a standard, and I think as a new head coach that’s something that I’m really proud.”
But even with all the wins and records, Bauer hopes future Wolverines simply recognize her commitment and attitude.
“I loved it, so I hope I was somebody who came to practice with a smile and worked hard while I was there,” Bauer said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
With her career at Michigan over, Bauer is already looking toward the future. She will have a few weeks off before traveling to Spain on June 4, where she will represent the United States in the World Collegiate Championship.
And with the real world setting in for one of Michigan’s best-ever female golfers, Bauer embodies and endorses an important message for her team — especially her younger sisters.
“As it all closes, I just want them to take advantage of every opportunity while they’re (at Michigan),” Bauer said. “I don’t think a lot of people realize what’s in front of them until it’s over. So make the most of it, practice hard, and leave your mark here at Michigan, because we’re all so lucky to be part of a wonderful opportunity.”