Utah Valley women’s golf escaped to the warmth down in Las Cruces, New Mexico to participate in the New Mexico State Aggie Invitational. This was the first tournament of the season that spanned over three days, Oct. 7-9.
With this tournament being three days long, each day consists of 18 holes of golf, whereas two-day tournaments have 36 holes of golf are played on the first day.
The Wolverines started off near the middle of the pack of 17 total teams. Bogies were aplenty while birdies were hard to come by for the five UVU golfers. 32 bogies or worse were carded as a team with only eight birdies. Each golfer finished the round over par with the best round coming from senior Kate Williamson, who carded 4-over-par 76. This landed Williamson in a 12-way tie for 15th place.
The best round of the day out of all 100 golfers was a 2-under-par 70, coming from four different people. Only five golfers finished round one under par, leading us to believe the New Mexico State golf course might be on the more difficult side.
Round two gave the Wolverines the chance to climb the leaderboard up to fifth place. Sophomore Nathalie Irlbacher eliminated eight strokes from her first round of 6-over-par 78, down to a 2-under-par 70. This brought her up to a three-way tie for 10th place. Each of the five Wolverines were able to cut strokes off their games from round one to round two.
“Our team finished today’s round particularly strong. Nathalie (Irlbacher) birdied three of her last four holes to finish 2-under and Bailey (Henley) birdied her last two holes to bring it back to 75,” said UVU head coach Sue Nyhus to sports information directors. “We have a really good team and our ball striking is outstanding. We are still growing and learning and have many great rounds ahead of us.”
This round only consisted of 22 bogies or worse and bumped their birdie rate up to 13.
The Wolverines finished climbing the leaderboard through the last 18 holes of golf, despite carding another 24 bogies and only 12 birdies. This round three of UVU’s golfers carded under par. Williamson carded 3-under-par 69, senior Kayee Shimizu carded 2-under-par 70 and Irlbacher carded 1-under-par 71. Junior Baylee Henley and freshman Victoria Estrada carded 8-over-par 80 and 12-over-par 84, respectively.
“What a finish by our Wolverines! Nathalie (Irlbacher) made two of the greatest up-and-downs for par I have seen in a long time on her last two holes and Kate (Williamson) had it going for most of the day to finish at 3-under,” said Nyhus. “Bailey (Henley) finished strong again with a birdie on her final hole, while Kaylee (Shimizu) managed to turn things around to finish strong.”
The team finished second overall behind New Mexico State. The Aggies maintained the lead all three days and won handily, carding a team score of 861. UVU carded 894, trailing the Aggies by 33 strokes. The University of Texas at El Paso narrowly missed second place by one stroke, carding 895.
The Wolverines have two more tournaments to play before the winter break. The first will take place on Oct. 14-15 in Lakewood, Washington, and the second will be another three-day tournament in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.