Lakers repeat as NC4K Classic champs
Despite subpar conditions on day two, No. 15 Grand Valley State ran down GLIAC foe Ashland on its way to finishing first for the second straight year at the NC4K Classic in Blacklick, Ohio.
GVSU, fresh off its win at the Perry Park Spring Fling in Kentucky on March 22, carded team scores of 319 and 312, respectively, for a 24-over 631. Ashland finished three strokes behind in second place.
“We are very happy that we won the tournament especially with the tough course conditions," said GVSU coach Rebecca Mailloux. "The girls really stayed focus throughout the long day of golf.
"We talked about finishing strong, but I also told them to make sure they gave themselves a mental break because it was such a long day so we could make sure we focused on the last holes.”
Ashland led for most of the second day, but faded down the stretch and opened the door for a GVSU comeback. The Lakers gained ground on the 14th hole, perhaps the toughest of the course.
GVSU's Kelly Hartigan, Julie Guckian, Gabrielle Shipley and Alex Taylor led the charge by collectively shooting a 2-over on the lengthy par 5, which moved GVSU four strokes closer.
The foursome combined to play well over the final four holes at 3-over par and made up four more strokes on the 18th hole. The Lakers shot a 24-over 312 on Monday, securing their fourth win of the season.
“I am really proud of our team especially with the way the conditions were and the way the course played," said Taylor, a sophomore. "It was really windy and cold but we were able to push through it and deal with what we had as a team.
"This is a great boost of confidence for us as a team, hopefully we can keep working together and we can build off our two consecutive victories that we have had. We do have to stay focused, not think too much and take it one tournament at a time so the wins don’t get to our head.”
Hartigan went low for GVSU, carding a 7-over 79 on Sunday and a 6-over 78 on Monday. Those two scores were good enough for a fourth-place tie -- her her third consecutive top-five finish.
Shipley, who tied Hartigan for first place at the Perry Park Spring Fling, stayed hot with a sixth-place performance, her seventh top-10 finish this year. Taylor and Guckian tied for sixth, as well.
Taylor came away with 21 pars, the fifth-most by anyone in the 99-player field. It was the second top-10 finish of her GVSU career. For Guckian, it was her third top-10 outing and first of the season.
“We had a really rough time with the course," Guckian said. "The conditions were really tough and the winds were high, which made it tough on us as a team. We just had to stay focused in these kind of matters and not give up, knowing that everyone else is struggling and there will be higher scores out there on the course.”
Sophomore Danielle Crilley rounded out the Laker lineup by shooting a 26-over 170, good enough for a 28th-place finish.
The Lakers will look to keep the momentum going when they hit the links from April 12-13 for the Tiffin Invitational.