“The UW-Eau Claire women’s golf team began their season on Saturday, August 30. The team ranked 14 in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division III Preseason Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
The UW-Eau Claire Invite was the team’s first event of the season and the Blugolds finished fifth out of 25 teams that included three in the top 10 of the preseason poll.
Despite receiving a high national rank, there is still a question the golfers will need to answer: can they be successful after only two returning players from last year’s team?
“It was exciting because it was my first college tournament,” freshman Lauren Gault said. “We had a lot of really good competition there, but I think the tournament was a success.”
Junior Torie Ives and sophomore Katie Swift are the two returning players from last season – the other 10 roster spots were filled with freshmen.
Among the freshmen beginning their careers with the Blugolds are Katie Maurer and Jamie Hauser, who both received All-State honors in high school.
“We have really good freshmen,” Maurer said. “It’s just fun to think of what we can do if we can get everyone working together, which we have been doing so far.”
Freshman Lauren Gault said “it’s awesome because everyone is in the same group – we would like to get out there to show people what we freshmen are all about.
“It’s like we’re creating a new team for our future and in a few years we won’t have to recruit a bunch of people,” she added.
On Saturday, the first day of the competition, the Blugolds finished in a tie with the second group from Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.). The Blugolds 330 strokes put the team at 42 over par, but only 17 off the lead. Gult lead the way for the Blugolds on day one, finishing with eight strokes over par.
Maurer said she felt like she didn’t do as well as she could have.
“It was a tough couple days out there conditions-wise,” she said.
On Sunday, the Blugolds advanced into sole possession of fifth place with 346 strokes, raising their weekend total to 676 and finishing 96 strokes over par.
Gault finished with the best score amongst the Blugolds. Her 162 strokes put her 17 over par and into a three-way tie for 10th place.
“I had a blast. The tournament was definitely a success in my eyes,” Gault said.
Maurer and Ives finished 26 and 27 strokes over par, respectively, while Hauser and freshman Emily Swift finished 27 and 28 strokes over par, respectively. Hauser was the only member of the Blugolds’ second group to finish in the top 50.
The Blugolds will travel to Waverly, Iowa, to compete in the Wartburg Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.
Gault said that she would like to have a comeback game.
“I’d like to stay more consistent,” she said. “As a team (I would expect) to do even better, and beat Stevens Point – they’re a big rival of ours.”