Things didn’t look good for the women’s golf team-they trailed tournament leader Ohio State by 12 strokes with five holes to play. Rain on Saturday led to difficult playing conditions and high scores.
But when the sun came out just before noon and the course dried up the Wolverines picked up their play, leading to a first-place finish. Michigan coach Kathy Teichert also gave her team a much-needed boost.
“I told the girls to just hang in there and to stay tough,” Teichert said. “(At that point) we had some difficult holes coming up, but they kept their composure and finished strong. I can’t say one negative thing about how they played the last 18 holes today.”
An exciting three-hole playoff between Michigan’s Brianna Broderick and Ohio State’s Dana Je – who were tied for first after 54 holes of play – highlighted Sunday’s competition. Both players made par on the first playoff hole, but Je appeared to have the upper hand when Broderick’s approach shot landed just off the green on the next hole. But Broderick stayed alive with a beautiful chip off the fringe that missed the hole by inches, drawing cheers from the crowd of about 40.
On the final hole, Je’s approach shot landed in the rough, and Broderick drained a five-foot putt for par to win the tournament, continuing a hot streak that began with a second-place finish in the Lady Northern Invitational two weeks ago. She also beat her personal best with a 70 (-1) on Saturday.
“Before the playoff I just told her ‘Bri, you got this,’ ” Teichert said. “I was just out there in support of her because she’s a very intelligent player who doesn’t need a lot of help.”
Said Broderick: “With a playoff it’s always a whole new deal. I went in fresh, and I had the advantage because of my knowledge of the course.”
Broderick’s short game was solid all day long. On the seventh hole her approach shot sailed over the green and landed between two trees. Still, she was able to punch out and convert her putt for par.
Freshman Ashley Bauer also had a strong showing for the Wolverines, finishing in a four-way tie for seventh place after beginning the day tied for 17th. Her short game looked strong all day, and she nearly holed out a shot from a few feet off the green in the rough at the end of the second round.
“My ball-striking was good today, but my putting needs some work,” Bauer said.
Senior Ali Stinson was consistent throughout the tournament, finishing in a tie for 15th. Junior Lindsey Davis played well on Saturday but dropped from second place into a tie for 20th.
The weather was uncooperative all weekend. Lightning postponed the finish of the second round until Sunday, and the course remained wet all weekend from the rain.
“The course seemed to play longer because of all the wet spots,” Bauer said.
The win was very important for Michigan, showing that the Wolverines are good enough to beat the top competition in the Big Ten tournament when the spring season rolls around. At the Lady Northern Michigan couldn’t get past Big Ten contenders Northwestern, Ohio State and Michigan State. But they solidified themselves as one of the top teams in the Big Ten with their performance at the Wolverine.
“This was a huge win for us,” Teichert said. “We’re going to be neck and neck with these teams all season long.”
The Wolverines are back in action on Oct. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Classic in Knoxville, Tenn.