After a disappointing last-place finish in the Northrop Gurman Regional Challenge, the Michigan women’s golf team returned from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., to the frozen courses of Ann Arbor. The three-day tournament was cut short due to weather conditions. This turn of events crushed the Wolverines’ hopes of narrowing the gap they created between themselves and the rest of the field.
After the first day of play, the women found themselves 56 strokes behind first-place Pepperdine. Michigan senior Kim Benedict led the Wolverines on Monday with a 12-over-par 83.
The second day wasn’t any better. Laura Olin had the best round with a score of 81 – the teams lowest of the tournament. Michigan finished with 335 strokes for the day, still displeased with its overall performance.
“All the girls were disappointed,” Michigan coach Kathy Teichert said. “They were hoping they would play a lot better, and it hurt to lose by such a significant margin. We had a very slow start and we made a few mistakes.”
Teichert cited several reasons for why she thought the Wolverines performed so poorly.
“We were playing a very strong field and all the teams were basically the top 25 in the nation,” she said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to practice outside and we didn’t get into the flow of this like we should have and could have.”
This competition was the Wolverines’ first event of the spring season, and it had been three months since they had last competed. Their last tournament was the Mercedes Benz Invitational in October, where they tied for 12th place out of 15 teams.
Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue represented the top four teams in the Big Ten at the tournament, none of which had stellar performances. Michigan State tied for 10th place with Georgia, while Ohio State and Purdue tied for 12th.
Instead of dwelling too much on their opening performance, the Wolverines are looking confidently toward the season ahead.
“It’s the beginning of the season, so we have to be optimistic,” Teichert said. “There is still a lot of golf to be played, and we are looking forward to the season ahead.”
The Wolverines will head off to Parrish, Fla. over spring break to play in the Midwest Classic.