Lakers cruise to third team victory in 22 days
Shipley, Hartigan place in top five yet again in Ohio
After playing its last match of the fall season on Oct. 29, the Grand Valley State University women’s golf team heeded to the winter weather and moved indoors to practice for the spring season.
Whatever it did during that time certainly appears to be paying dividends in a big way because, since the start of the spring season, GVSU has been on a roll.
The Lakers took home first place in two of their first three outings of the spring campaign and most recently notched another team victory on Monday at the JBMF Cavalier Classic in North Canton, Ohio.
“The course was tough, and it was set up a little bit longer than most, which plays to our advantage,” coach Rebecca Mailloux said. “This is the most hungry team I’ve ever had. They want to win no matter what, and coming in second is not acceptable.”
The Lakers shot a 628 ( 32) at the two-day tournament to outpace the runners-up, Ashland University and the University of Findlay, by 14 strokes.
However, of the 13 schools competing in the tournament, GVSU was just one of two to see its score worsen in the second day of competition — but not for a lack of effort from sophomore Gabrielle Shipley.
After shooting a nine-over 81 on the first day, Shipley roared back on the final 18 by carding a tournament-best 73 ( 1) to finish in fourth place individually with a final score of 154 ( 10). She totaled three birdies in the final round to earn her fourth top-five finish this spring.
After the first 18 holes, GVSU sprung out to a decisive 17-stroke lead with a team score of 309 ( 21). The first round was highlighted by junior Kelly Hartigan’s three-over 75, the top score of any golfer in the field.
Hartigan shot a 156 ( 12) on day two to finish in a three-way tie for third place. Unlike Shipley, Hartigan’s best day came first when shot a three-over par 75.
“The second day was tougher because of the rain and heavier gusts of wind,” said Hartigan, who was the 2013 GLIAC Women’s Golfer of the Year. “It made club selection harder, but the first day put us in a good position to still come out on top.”
Freshman Julie Guckien notched the first top-10 finish of her collegiate career with a two-day total of 158 ( 14) to finish ninth overall. The rookie’s emergence has been a pleasant surprise to all, herself included.
“I never really expected to be traveling as much as I am, but I love it,” Guckien said. “I have a blast every time I go with the team, but it’s still a team effort. I’ve just been happy that I can contribute.”
Senior Veronica Ryan and freshman Alex Taylor tied for 12th place overall with a tournament total 160 ( 16), while freshman Molly Esordi tallied an 86 on the last day of competition to round out GVSU’s total.
The Lakers had to battle unfriendly conditions all weekend and faced consistent winds of 25 to 35 mph while being pelted with rain much of the second day. Play was not suspended, though, and the team battled on to win its third tournament in four tries.
GVSU will scrimmage on Friday before traveling once again to compete in the GLIAC Championship from April 25 to 27 at the Winding Hollow Golf and Event Center in Columbus, Ohio.