Senior Kim Benedict was riding high yesterday after a seven-birdie performance on Saturday. Her momentum was enough to squeeze out a one-stroke win in the Indiana Invitational. This was her first tournament win since the fall of 2001 and the third of her career.
On Saturday, Benedict knew her round was not going as planned, and she made a mental note to make a serious attempt to turn it around.
“I was four-over through the first seven holes, and I was just thinking, ‘I have to at least get a few birdies,’ ” Benedict said.
On the next two holes, she got what she wanted – two birdies. But after a bogey on her 10th hole, Benedict birdied the next five holes. She finished the day with a two-under 72 – the lowest round of the tournament – good enough for a three-stroke lead after the first round.
“It was a pretty random round, but I am not going to complain about it,” she said.
Bolstered by her performance on Saturday, Benedict came out yesterday and made five more birdies and finished the final round with a 74. Her three-round score of 222 on 54 holes edged Wisconsin’s Katie Connelley for the win.
Michigan coach Kathy Teichert was impressed with Benedict’s ability to focus on the details of her game, which resulted in birdies for her.
“She has been striking the ball really well, giving her birdie chance after birdie chance,” Teichert said. “She is a good putter, so she is just taking advantage of each opportunity she has. Her fundamentals right now are the best I have ever seen them.”
The Wolverines finished sixth as a team with a score of 948, 32 strokes behind first-place Purdue. Sophomore Laura Olin struggled in the first round, opening with a 10-over par 84 but managed to find her game and finish the remaining rounds with a 76 and a 77, good enough for a tie at 18th overall. Freshman Amy Schmucker tied for 33rd with two rounds of 84, but finished the final round with a 77 for a total of 245.
“I think our top three did a great job,” Teichert said. “We just have to have the bottom three get some score on the board; they are going to be the key for us to have success.”
The weather might have hindered any chance for success this past weekend. With temperatures dropping to below 25 degrees at some points along with fierce winds, it was difficult to get the shots players wanted.
“It was another typical Indiana Invitational,” Teichert said. “The weather has never been great. When you are playing 30 to 35 degrees, it is basically the survival of the fittest and the survival of the minds.”