Julia Schachinger/Daily. Buy this photo.

Looking to harness critically important momentum headed into a three-month offseason, the No. 35 Michigan women’s golf team capped off its fall season at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, North Carolina. 

Led by graduate student Ashley Lau (E) and senior Mikaela Shulz (+1), the Wolverines shot 286-295-291 en route to an eighth-place finish. 

Senior leadership was key to the Wolverines’ success — they struggled to finish off tournaments over the course of the fall season. But recently, they’ve found more consistency playing behind senior Hailey Borja, whose scoring average of 72.8 currently leads the team. Aided by a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th hole, Borja recorded the best Sunday score for Michigan, coming in at two under.

“Being able to have (the upperclassmen) around and have them be a part of our success currently and helping shape the culture and teaching our freshman what Michigan golf is all about …  is absolutely invaluable,” Michigan coach Jan Dowling said. 

Lau, who last year captured the Michigan single season scoring record with 71.84 strokes per round, carded six birdies and a barrage of pars en route to three consecutive rounds of 72. Her total of 216 resulted in a tied-25th finish in individual tournament scoring.

Shulz was only a shot behind, putting up scores of 71-73-73 for a weekend total of one over. Coming off a slump, her improved play was essential to the team’s success. 

“(Mikaela) worked her butt off and we knew that she’d be ready to tee it up at The Landfall,” Dowling said. “We just felt like she deserved another chance and she took advantage of a great opportunity. We knew no matter what she was going to do whatever she could to play her best golf.” 

Dowling also spoke to the team’s grit against a tough fall schedule, which included matchups against No. 2 Wake Forest and No. 4 South Carolina this weekend:

“We’re competing in some of the best tournaments in college golf, certainly on the east coast … we’ve set a high standard and they want to be challenged to that standard.”

Coming off a record-setting season last year, the reigning Big 10 Champion Wolverines will be looking for a breakthrough win once the spring season rolls around. They’ve gotten out to a good start on several occasions, averaging a first round team score of 288.8, but they’ll have to improve their final round average of 298.4 if they want to defend their title come April.

“We’ve got so much talent and great camaraderie on the team… it’s been a very fun fall season,” Schulz said. “We have a lot of skill and if we go on a run there is no one that’s going to stop us.”

Michigan now heads into a three-month break, a hiatus during which it’ll be looking to dial in its game within 100 yards as well as around the greens. Senior leadership could prove crucial as the team gears up for a spring season which will be testing but undoubtedly full of potential for the Wolverines.