Loney leads women while men struggle at Buena Vista Invite

The UW-Eau Claire men’s and women’s golf teams were in full swing this weekend, and while one finished in the middle of the pack, another excelled when it mattered.

The Blugold women traveled to Normal, Ill., for the Illinois Wesleylan Spring Fling Friday for a two-day event, and were able to drive away with a third-place finish out of 20 teams.

Leading the way for the Blugolds was junior Maggie Loney, whose two-under 70 Saturday finished her tied with DePauw University’s (Ind.) Sarah Gates for first place individually. Loney shot a 144 for the tournament, finishing at even par.

“Two teams go so unless we play really bad this weekend we should go.”

Maggie Loney

But Loney was not the only standout star for the Blugolds. Freshman Meghan Sobotta finished nine-over with a score of 153 while sophomore Jesse Thompson shot 10-over. Their scores earned them seventh- and ninth-place finishes, respectively.

“We didn’t play as well the second day, but we beat Illinois Wesleyan, which is who we wanted to beat,” Loney said. “We proved the first day that we can play right up there with them.”

Rounding out the notable individuals for the Blugolds were sophomore Kelly Gerzsenyi, senior Andrea Kloppman and freshman Mandy Madson.

Gerzsenyi shot a two-day 167 to finish tied for 39th place overall. Kloppman’s 169 earned her a tie for 46th, and Madson’s score of 194 finished her tied for 103rd.

Eau Claire finished with a team score of 618. DePauw won the event with a 601, and was followed by a 615 by St. Mary’s College (Ind.).

The meet was the first since the team played in Georgia over spring break, and some of the opposing teams had been playing in better weather, Loney said.

“Down in Georgia was the first time we had played in grass,” she said. “We didn’t expect a whole lot, but (this weekend) was an easy golf course.”

There are only two more regular season meets for the women, and barring a meltdown, the Blugolds’ chances are good to qualify for nationals, Loney said.

“The team is sitting second in the region,” she said. “Two teams go so unless we play really bad this weekend we should go.”

The Blugold men were not able to duplicate the women’s strong finish, instead taking ninth place of 20 teams at the Buena Vista Spring Invitational Friday and Saturday in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Eau Claire shot a 617, well off tournament champion Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.), which shot a 583.

Pacing the Blugolds was junior Grant Lissick, who tied for 14th individually with a 4-over, 148 score.

Sophomore Tyler Leis was six strokes back of Lissick, shooting a 10-over 154, good enough for a 35th place finish.

The rest of the Blugold scorers were headed by junior Derek Pirkl and freshman Mason Milner, who each finished tied for 51st with a 159. Sophomore Mike Greer finished 21-over, earning him 77th place.

The Blugold women will tee off Friday and Saturday at the Hickory Point Invite in Decatur, Ill., while the men will travel next Monday and Tuesday to the Gustie Spring Classic at Gustavus Adolphus.