The Michigan women’s golf team closed out its regular season with a fifth-place finish last weekend at the Knights and Pirates Invitational in Melbourne, Fla.

For just the second time this season, the Wolverines finished with a sub-300 team score, recording a 298 final tally, leaving them tied for fifth place with Chattanooga. The outing was Michigan’s fifth top-five finish in 10 regular-season events.

“I was pleased with our overall finish,” said Michigan coach Cheryl Stacy. “Our ultimate goal was to finish in the top three, considering how our spring has gone.”

The spring, as described by Stacy, has been less than promising for the Wolverines. After a strong fall season characterized by multiple top-five finishes, Michigan struggled in February and March. The Wolverines have finished 10th or below in all but one tournament, a seventh-place finish at the Hurricane Invitational.

Partly responsible for the rocky start was the frequency of the team’s outings. With three tournaments in four weeks, Michigan struggled without significant practice time.

“It seemed like our February and March were so busy (that) we didn’t really get a chance to have a lot of good practices,” Stacy said.

But with more than three weeks of practice in recent weeks, the Wolverines were able to fine-tune their skills and head into the Knights and Pirates Invitational with heightened confidence.

Michigan kicked off the tournament on a positive note thanks to senior Meagan Bauer and sophomores Yugene Lee and Alyssa Shimel, who each finished with a first-round 74.

With two more days of solid performances from Bauer and Lee, coupled with an impressive second and third round from freshman Linda Luo, Michigan was able to maintain the momentum from a strong first round. Big Ten rivals Wisconsin and Purdue also scored top-five finishes.

Bauer led the Wolverines with a 219 final score, leaving her in sixth place overall. Lee and Luo finished at ninth and 25th respectively, giving Michigan three top-25 finishers in the 87-player field.

“It was definitely a good way to go out before the Big Ten Tournament,” Bauer said.

Bauer, a senior from Grand Blanc, Mich., would like to ride the momentum boost into the conference tournament later this month. Michigan has not finished a season ranked higher than No. 5 in the Big Ten standings since 2006.

Bauer believes that practice paired with a strong mentality and positive attitude is enough to ensure a successful Big Ten Tournament.

A key to success, in Bauer’s mind, is “knowing that we can and we will win this tournament.”

“It’s going to be nice to have a few weeks back at home to work on things we need to.”

Stacy also asserted the importance of consistent practice, saying the next few weeks give Michigan “a chance to really tune in and work hard, so we will be ready to go,” for the Big Ten Tournament in French Lick, Ind.

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