April 14, 2010

By Michael Rosengart
Special to NCAA.com

SHINING BRIGHT: Junior Katie Schenfeld (73-76, 149) and sophomore Taylor Drenttel (74-75, 149) both posted 36-hole career bests and shared medalist honors en route to a victory for No. 2 Gustavus Adolphus College at the Div. II Augustana Spring Invitational.

Senior Kali Griggs (77-75, 152), who tied for fifth, and sophomore Annie Jackson (79-81, 160), who shared 19th, also helped the Golden Gusties in what proved to be a record setting weekend for the school’s 18 year old program. Gustavus’ Second Round 303 was the lowest 18-hole score the team has ever posted and the 610 was the lowest 36-hole number. They defeated host Augustana College by 10 strokes.

TIGERS HANG ON IN THREE-WAY TOP-10 BATTLE: No. 4 Illinois Wesleyan University managed to shave 14 strokes off its Round One score of 327 for a Second Round 313, the team’s second-best 18-hole score of the year, but so did host No. 6 DePauw University at the Katman Klassic and the Titans came up just two strokes short in the end.

The tournament was neck and neck all the way. Junior Erica Woodall turned in a Round Two 75 following an Opening Round 80 to tie DePauw freshman Camila Romero (78-77, 155), and then took the title on a match of cards. IWU senior Lindsey Haines shot a 159 to tie for fourth place, and fellow senior Alessandra Bollero tied for 10th with a 162. Junior Sarah Lejman rounded out the scoring for the Titans in a tie for 15th place with a 164.

But the DePauw did just enough to secure what was their second win of the week. Behind Romero, sophomore Taylor Beaty fired a pair of 80s, sophomore Kelly Gaughan tied Bollero with an identical 83-79, 163 and senior Erin Kielty posted a 162 to edge out Lejman. It was the first time since Oct. of 2006 that Tigers have won two tournaments in a row.

No. 9 Olivet College was also in it until the end, but even their best team round of the season on Day Two, a 316, wasn’t enough to keep up with the Tigers. The Comets wound up in third with a 644. Junior Amber Conrad led the Comets in third place with a 157. She was joined in the top-10 by sophomore Lauren Campbell (84-77, 161) in a tie for eighth, and junior Abby Wheeler (80-82, 162) in a tie for 10th.

No. 23 Franklin College (329-330, 659), Wittenberg University (337-337, 674) and Benedictine University (416-418, 834) finished fourth through sixth respectively.

FIVE IN A ROW FOR GEORGE FOX: No. 10 George Fox University (341-324, 665) came back from a 10-stroke deficit to Whitworth University through the first half of the Northwest Conference Women’s Spring Classic with a Second Round 324 to win its fifth straight tournament and eight of their last nine.

Junior Brianna Nap (82-79, 161) edged out Whitworth freshman Emily Travis by one stroke on the 36th hole to claim medalist honors, but it was Mandy Cameron’s eight-stroke improvement after an uncharacteristic First Round 87 that propelled the Bruins to victory. Freshmen Kelsey Morrison (88-84, 172), Jill Westendorf (86-90, 176), and Abby Mann (91-82, 173) along with senior Sarah Askin (86-85, 171) collaborated to provide the other four counting scores.

Travis’ First Round 76 for Whitworth (331-341, 672) was the best score of her career by a substantial seven strokes, but another fantastic round was not to be as she carded a Second Round 86—more in line with her average scores. Two other Pirates, senior Krystal Pitkonen (86-82, 168) and freshman Emily Guthrie (86-84, 170), also finished in the top-10, but it just wasn’t enough to top the red hot Bruins.

The Northwest Conference’s automatic bid will be determined on Apr. 24 during the final of three conference playoff events. Including this one, George Fox has won both of the first two and holds a two-point lead over Whitman. Linfield, who finished third at this tournament, is also just four points back.

AMHERST TAKES OUT REVENGE ON VASSAR, WILLIAMS SECOND: After having a brilliant comeback run shutdown three weeks ago by George Fox in Arizona, No. 7 Amherst College (345-325, 670) came through this time to win after trailing by  nine strokes to defend its title at the Vassar College Invitational.

Senior captain Kinne Schwartz captured third place and led the Lord Jeffs’ rally with a Second Round daily low 76 after a Day One 89. She was joined in the top-10 by freshman Liz Monty (84-82, 166) and junior Hayley Milbourn (85-82, 167) who finished sixth and seventh respectively. The win was Amherst’s third of the year and first of the spring. In six tournaments with more than three teams competing, AC has only finished outside the top two once and that was as the only Division III school at the D-I Dartmouth Invitational back in September.

No. 11 Williams College (343-333, 676) earned it’s third second-place finish of the year on the back of strong efforts from freshman Victoria Student (84-79, 163), who took second, and senior Anne O’Leary (83-82, 165), who shared third with Schwartz and Wellesley College junior Kim Eaton. Like Amherst, the Ephs also passed host Vassar College (336-345, 681) who led by seven strokes after the First Round. Vassar freshman Celynne Balatbat, however, carded a career-best 78 to take home her third straight medal with a 160 total. She was the only Brewer finishing in the top-10.

Wellesley (343-340, 683), who received 26 votes in the last coaches’ poll, beat out both No. 14 St. Lawrence University (353-348, 701) and No. 22 SUNY Cortland (359-345, 704) among others to merit consideration for a ranking next time around.

CHIP SHOTS: No. 1 Methodist University rallied for a 308 in the Third Round to take third in the otherwise all Div. I Tina Barrett Longwood Invitational. No Monarch posted a score above 77 during Round Three as junior Paige Caldwell wrapped up her fourth consecutive top-10 finish thanks to a 2 over 74 her third trip around the course.

Three days before winning the Katman Klassic, DePauw (338) also defeated Butler University (345), Franklin (353), and Hanover University (383) at Pete Dye’s prestigious Crooked Stick Golf Club during the Big Four Classic. Crooked Stick has hosted some of the women’s game’s most elite competitions such as the 1993 US Women’s Open, the 2005 Solheim Cup, and the 2007 US Women’s Amateur. Kielty medaled with an 80.

No. 3 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (328-319, 647) laid a beating on Central College (383-353, 736), and Simpson College (390-369, 759) at the Central College Spring Invitational—the Blugolds’ first spring appearance. UWEC’s only two golfers not from Wisconsin, freshman Catherine Wagner (83-76, 159) and sophomore Katie Maurer (81-78, 159), both of whom are from Minnesota, shared medalist honors.

No. 5 Saint Mary’s College and Trine University played a home-and-home match-up this weekend and Saint Mary’s was on the winning end of both. The Belles struggled somewhat at their home course with a 353, but juniors Mary Kate Boyce (74) and Rosie O’Conner (79) both turned in what were easily their best scores of the season on Trine’s turf. SMC shot a 321 in the second match.

No. 13 Washington Univesity in St. Louis shot a 690 at the McKendree Invitational despite freshman Hannah Buck (82-78, 160) taking home medalist honors for the third time this season. The Bears still have broken 330 only once in nine rounds this spring.

No. 16 Hope College shot a 337 at the Hope Spring Invitational to beat out two schools from the NAIA. The Flying Dutch’s best round since October comes just days before the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoffs kicks off where they’ll try to take down Saint Mary’s and Olivet to earn a national championship berth.

St. Olaf College (335-352, 687), the first team outside of the top-25 in the coaches’ poll, handled No. 20 Carleton College (344-363, 707) at the Mount Mercy Women’s Spring Invitational. Carleton’s Second Round score was its worst all season.

Wheaton College (362-363, 725) posted their highest team scores since the very meet of the year to finish third place at the St. Francis Spring Invitational. Senior Brittany Bronson, however, managed her fourth straight top-3 finish dating back to September with a 173.