Sophomores Linda Luo and Lauren Grogan once again led the Michigan women’s golf team at the SDSU Farms Invitational by finishing in the top 40, with overall scores of 235 and 236, respectively. Despite the duo’s strong play, the Wolverines had a disappointing showing overall, finishing in second-to-last place in the three-day, 54-hole event, which was held at the Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Grogan had a solid all-around tournament and shot in the 70s in each of the three rounds, while Luo improved significantly throughout the event and shot Michigan’s best individual round, a two-over-par 74 on the final day.

The strong play from Luo and Grogan has been one of the few bright spots for the Wolverines this season, as the pair has finished first and second in Michigan’s last seven events. Luo and Grogan are also the only two players who have started and played in all eight of the Wolverines’ tournaments thus far.

“Linda and Lauren played pretty consistent again, and I’ve been pleased with their play all year,” said Michigan coach Cheryl Stacy. “We just need to get the third, fourth and fifth scorers down.”

Michigan faced stiff competition across the board, as eight of the 15 competing schools came in ranked in the top 50. This included No. 1 USC, which won the event with a combined 11-over-par 875.

The Wolverines finished with a 36-over-par 980 and saved their best performance for last, shooting a team-best 324 in the final round. In the end though, their overall play simply didn’t stack up to both the competition and difficult course environment.

“The golf course played really tough for us, and we were really having a hard time getting the ball in the fairway off the tee,” Stacy said. “It’s just the type of golf course where if you’re not playing well, it shows the flaws in your game.”

One of the main reasons Michigan hasn’t met expectations this season has been the abnormally long winter, which prevented the Wolverines from practicing and training as often at their usual outdoor facility. Combined with their overall youth and inexperience, it’s clear that despite the subpar results this year, the future is looking up.

“They are young, and it seems like we’re so far away, but if we just get a couple scores down we’re right there,” Stacy said. “It seems like an uphill climb, but we’ll be fine.”

As the regular season comes to a close, Michigan will have one final tune-up next week when it participates in the Marsh Landing Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla. The team is beginning to set its sights on the Big Ten Championships, which start on April 26.

“A couple of the girls played well there last year and are looking forward to it. We’ll see if being in the moment in the Big Ten Championships will help us,” Stacy said. “The goal is always to finish top three in the Big Ten. They know that if they all put it together and play really well, we could still come out with the win.”

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