The Michigan women’s golf team headed into Purdue territory this weekend for the Lady Boilermaker Invitational, which showcased eight of the 11 Big Ten teams in a 54-hole tournament. The golfers played 36 holes on Saturday and the final 18 yesterday.
“Going into this tournament our team was on the bubble to qualify for Regionals,” Michigan coach Kathy Teichert said. “Our goal was to beat out a couple of our competitors like Nebraska and Wisconsin.”
At the conclusion of the first day at the invitational, Michigan was placed in eighth place and within 10 strokes of third-place Illinois. After a 30-minute frost delay, the second day the Wolverines maintained their eighth-place finish, but concluded the invitational ahead of Big Ten rivals Wisconsin, Penn State and Northwestern.
“We didn’t have great scores on Saturday. The girls made a series of small errors that added up,” Teichert said. “We played a lot better yesterday, and we finished up with four great scores in the 70s. Overall, I was happy with their progress.”
Michigan’s top individual was sophmore Laura Olin, who placed 11th overall. Behind Olin was senior Kim Benedict, who finished up in 21st place.
“Individually, I wasn’t very happy with my putting,” Benedict said. “But as a team, I thought we did really well. Everyone worked hard and it paid off in the end.”
Just last weekend Benedict won her third collegiate tournament title under tough weather conditions at the Indiana Invitational. After her outstanding performance, she was honored with the Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Week.
It was Benedict’s second career Athlete of the Week award. She was previously given the honor in 2001. Benedict leads the team in scoring average for the fourth straight season.
The invitational was played on the Kampen Course, the site where the NCAA Championships are scheduled to be played (May 20).
“It is a really great course,” Teichert said. “I’m glad we got a chance to play it before we enter the Championships.”
The Wolverines have a competition-free week before making the trek to Iowa City for the Big Ten Championships (April 25) where Ohio State and Purdue are top contenders for the team title.
“We have a lot of things to work on this week,” Teichert said. “A lot of it is individual based, but most of the girls have to work on their short game and putting. Hopefully, the weather will be nice enough so we can spend a lot of time on the golf course.”