There was abundant sunshine, temperatures in the 80s and three rounds of golf at one of Puerto Rico’s finest resorts. A paradise for most.

But for the Michigan women’s golf team, it was just the start of a new spring season.

The Wolverines traveled to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico this past Sunday through Tuesday for the three-round Lady Puerto Rico Classic at the par-72 Trump International Golf Club.

Unfortunately for Michigan, the results of the tournament were not quite as pretty as the weather.

Competing in a field loaded with 10 of the nation’s top-50 programs, the Wolverines finished in 12th place out of 16 teams, with a final team score of 925.

“Overall, I am a little disappointed in the way we finished today,” Michigan coach Cheryl Stacy said yesterday.

It was Michigan’s first competitive outing since Nov. 2 and 3, when it posted a team score of 877 at the Challenge at Onion Creek in Austin, Texas.

Clearly, there is some rust that needs to be shaken off for this spring season.

“We were a little rusty, not having played outside,” Stacy said, “but it was a good experience for us early in the spring.”

But it wasn’t all gloom for the Wolverines.

Sophomore Meagan Bauer posted rounds of 72-73-78 for a tournament total of 223, the best 54-hole total of her young career.

Bauer’s first round of 72 was just her second career round of par or better — and most certainly the second of many to come. She has improved her score in each of her last five tournaments.

Bauer tied her sister, senior captain Ashley Bauer, for first on the team and 17th overall.

A first-place team finish is nothing new for Ashley.

She has finished as the top Wolverine in 25 of her 42 career events, and she has the lowest career scoring average in the history of Michigan women’s golf with an average of 75.98.

There’s no doubt, she will be expected to carry much of the load for the Wolverines the rest of the way this season.

Michigan also got an opportunity to see how it would fare against fellow Big Ten teams.

Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Indiana and Penn State all competed in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. The Wolverines finished fourth out of the six teams, edging out Indiana and Penn State.

“It would have been nice to play a little better in the final round and catch some teams and get a couple more wins over some Big Ten teams,” Stacy said.

Fourth-ranked Purdue finished as the top Big Ten team, earning second place with a final tally of 883. Alabama won the tournament with a score of 872.

As the spring season begins in full force, Michigan will look to continue to move up the ranks in the Big Ten as it prepares for the Big Ten Championships in April.

“We just have to work harder and improve upon what we learned this tournament,” Stacy said. “I know that we are looking forward to getting back down to Florida in a few weeks.”

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