The UVU women’s golf team opened their fall season on Sept. 9-10 at their home course, Hobble Creek in Springville, UT.
Hobble Creek historically has played very well for the Wolverines. Several top-10 finishes have taken place on the course including former Wolverine Carly Dehlin Hirsch two seasons in a row, as well as Ana Raga last season. Two current Wolverines achieved a top-10 finish on their home green this tournament, sophomore Nathalie Irlbacher and senior Kaylee Shimizu tied for sixth place.
To add to a top-10 finish, Irlbacher also celebrated her 19th birthday. She put herself in second place after 36 holes and was one shot shy of the school record with a 3-under-par 68.
UVU found themselves in contention through the first 18 holes. Shimizu led the pack carding 1-under-par 70. She put up five birdies and an eagle on a par-5 to counteract six bogies. The rest of the team was right on her tail to finish the round. The worst individual score was just seven shots behind Shimizu –– 7-over-par 68. The team finished round one fifth out of 17 teams.
“I’m very pleased with the performance of our young team. Today they were very poised and hit a lot of very good shots,” said UVU head coach Sue Nyhus.
The Wolverines climbed their way to second at the end of day one after playing 36 holes of golf. A solid performance from Irlbacher, with five birdies and a double bogey gave her the solo No. 2 spot. Irlbacher, senior Kate Williamson and junior Keila Baladad all eliminated strokes from their previous round. The leading team, Northern Arizona, sat six strokes below the Wolverines with a score of 579 going into round three.
The final 18 holes are where the Wolverines tripped over their own feet. Only four birdies were carded among the whole team. A sixth place finish for UVU was the best they could do to finish their home tournament. Each golfer, with the exception of Williamson, added strokes to their previous round. Williamson improved her score from 3-over-par 74 to 2-over-par 73.
“We got a taste of what it’s like to be in contention and that is going to motivate our team to elevate their game over the next couple of weeks,” said Nyhus. “I’m proud of the girls for posting good scores as well as having long stretches of solid play. I think we are on a good path and this performance will motivate the team moving forward.”
The overall winners of the Hobble Creek Fall Classic was California State University Fullerton with a score of 878. To put that into perspective, the Wolverines sixth place finish resulted in a team score of 887, putting them just nine strokes behind first place.
The five Wolverines scored as follows from best score of the week to worst; Irlbacher and Shimizu tied for sixth with 217, Williamson shot 222, Baladad shot 233 and freshman Lauren Taylor shot 236. Junior Bailey Henley competed as an individual and shot 222, which put her in a seven-way tie for No. 20.
The Wolverines will have a two-week break before heading to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho to participate in the Coeur D’Alene Resort Collegiate Invitational on Sept. 23-24.