Though 13 teams and 75 women participated in the 19th Wolverine Invitational, the tournament belonged to Wolverines junior Ashley Bauer.
After rain completely wiped away the 36-hole first day on Saturday, the tournament was reduced to just 18 holes yesterday rather than the usual 54. Ominous clouds on Sunday held off just long enough for players to finish. In the 18-hole format, the Wolverines were victorious with an aggregate score of 293, highlighted by a career day for co-captain Bauer.
After making par on the first two holes, Bauer did something on the 505-yard third hole that she wouldn’t do the entire rest of the day: make a bogey. Bauer then locked in, making the turn at one-under-par and finishing her day at three-under. The Grand Blanc native hit a near-flawless 16 out of 18 greens in regulation and tied the Michigan school record of 68, a record shared by four others.
After a tap-in on 18 as the rain picked up, Bauer walked off the green to embrace her father. She called this round one of the high-points in her golf career.
“I’ve never shot in the 60s before, but, after the seventh hole, I just started rolling,” Bauer said. “I played almost perfect today, minus those first three holes. I definitely could have made some putts out there, the back nine especially, but I couldn’t have hit the ball any better today.”
Although she may have hit the ball as well as she ever has, Bauer showed the potential to score significantly lower than her record-tying 68. She estimated that she had put at least 10 approach shots inside eight feet, but made just four birdies. On the back nine alone, Bauer birdied hole numbers 11 and 14 before missing birdie putts from inside that eight feet on the final four holes.
But Bauer conceded Mother Nature may have helped out by dampening the greens for her approach shots.
“I guess I’ve been working a lot on my swing, and I was hitting greens,” said Bauer. “That’s always been my strong point. I was hitting them right at it, and they were sticking, they weren’t really rolling. Wherever they hit, they were staying right there, so I was able to be pretty accurate today.”
All in all, Bauer had the only score in red. Minnesota’s Kelli Berns finished second with 71, and Stephany Fleet of Eastern Michigan was third (72).
Michigan’s five-player score of 293 was significantly lower than Minnesota’s runner-up score of 304, as the other squads failed to even threaten the Wolverines’ quest for an eighth victory at the Invitational. Seven Wolverines finished in the top 18, each of them breaking 80.
“I’m really pleased with the start we’ve gotten off to,” Michigan coach Kathy Teichert said. “Ashley set a tournament record, but honestly, just watching her, it could have been even lower.”