The fairway of a golf course, with the hole to the left marked by a yellow flag. Trees line the course as the sun beams down.
Experience and belief guide Michigan through Moon invitational. File Photo/Daily. Buy this photo.

The unfriendly Michigan winter is not the perfect course for the No. 33 Michigan women’s golf team. Instead, they headed to the warmth of the Moon Invitational in Florida. Against a field of ranked competitors, the Wolverines played a new course, while producing new career- and program-low scores. 

Michigan’s scores of 286, 278 and 291, landed the team tied for seventh playing alongside 12 top-50 teams. This effort was led by another consistent performance from senior Hailey Borja, and an extraordinary day two show from freshman Lauren Sung. 

In uncharacteristic fashion for the Wolverines experienced players struggled early. Senior Mikaela Schulz shot an unusual 74 (two over) on her first day with consistent pars, but no birdies to start the tournament. The streak of pars continued throughout the lineup with Borja and senior Anika Dy producing identical scores of 15 pars and two birdies each. Alongside them was junior Monet Chun generating her third top-20 finish of the season, finishing that first round with 14 pars and two birdies. 

Michigan finished with the highest total pars in the tournament, 185 of them to be exact. Its an impressive statistic for the Wolverines, but it’s a part of their norm. 

“We make a lot of pars,” Michigan coach Jan Dowling said. “That actually helps us a ton on a really hard golf course. It says a lot about their ability to manage their golf ball and make good decisions out there.”

Day two of the tournament is when Michigan swung into action with renewed vigor. At the forefront of this execution was Sung. Her first-day results left her going into the day sitting two above par with redemption on her mind. She churned out her lowest score ever of 67. In a stunning run, her final four holes included two back-to-back birdies, and she finished her 18th hole with an eagle. 

“She’s been doing a lot of work and quite a few changes,” Dowling said. “She’s worked hard and it’s good for her to see some evidence that she’s moving in the right direction.”

Sung’s standout round only aided in the Wolverines’ skilled performance. Borja and Chun both hit a 69 on day two, with seven birdies between the two of them, and Borja joined Sung in an eagle on hole 18. The compilation of this team recorded a 278 for the day, which is now the third-lowest round in Michigan program history. 

“It was pretty special,” Dowling said. “We’ve been preaching patience and we were seven under as a team on the last hole. It was a pretty rewarding feeling.”

Finishing on day three, Dy stood out with an even 72 and tied her season-low 54-hole score of 216. Borja scored her second straight top-10 finish alongside Sung—who shot her new career best of 219 over the three days. These high level performances set the tone as being strong competitors for the rest of their season. 

“We are going to keep adapting to whatever golf courses and conditions are thrown to us each week,” Dowling said. “That’s the name of the game.”

With experienced leadership at the helm, growth and adaptation empowers the Wolverines’ malleable mentality.