Legendary entertainer Bob Hope once said, “If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.”
The Michigan women’s golf team opened the 2015-2016 season by working their way to a 12th-place finish out of 20 teams at the three-day Powerade Cougar Classic in Hanahan, South Carolina. The Wolverines missed the top-10 by just three strokes and the top-seven by five.
“We had a pretty tremendous opportunity playing some of the top teams in the country,” said Michigan coach Jan Dowling. “Unfortunately, we didn’t finish the way we wanted to. But (the tournament) gave us the confidence that we’re on the verge of being in the mix of the top teams in the country and that’s exciting.”
Junior Grace Choi led Michigan by finishing 15th with a total score of 219. Her best round came Monday with a score of 72 — exactly par. She birdied four times during the round, including three times on the back nine holes.
Choi has now finished in the top-20 seven times in her collegiate career.
“It was a solid finish for (Grace),” Dowling said. “She’s a grinder and that shows a lot of character.”
Sophomore Megan Kim was the Wolverines’ runner-up scorer, placing 40th with 225 strokes. Her strongest round came on Sunday when she shot 73 and earned birdies on the seventh, 10th, 13th and 18th holes.
Michigan’s lone senior, Catherine Peters, battled back to finish 50th overall after a 78-stroke round on Sunday left her in 78th place.
Freshman Elodie Van Dievoet, one of two freshmen on the Wolverines’ roster, made her collegiate debut at the Cougar Classic. She came out of the gate by shooting 73 with two birdies and found herself in a tie for 24th with Choi and Kim after Sunday.
“I think the course gave (Van Dievoet) a great taste of what American collegiate golf is all about,” Dowling said. “She’s got plenty of talent and had plenty of birdie opportunities.”
Van Dievoet, however, was unable to replicate Sunday’s performance and ultimately placed 77th with 232 strokes.
Rounding out Michigan’s scoring was sophomore Emily White, who finished 97th and scored 239. White reduced her stroke count in each successive round and finished her final round Tuesday with birdies on the ninth and 11th holes, scoring 78.
The Wolverines will have two more tournaments before autumn is over. While Dowling said that the Cougar Classic will likely be the Michigan’s most difficult tournament, she still believes the experience will pay off.
“Next week at Wisconsin will be a wonderful opportunity for our team to come together,” Dowling said. “We’re playing a really fun format.”