Women’s golf wins WIAC Championship

Sean Maloney

The UW Oshkosh women’s golf team won its first Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Championship since 2003 and fourth overall this past weekend at Lake Arrowhead Golf Course in Nekoosa. UWO led the entire weekend and finished with a final team score of 992 strokes, 47 ahead of the second place finisher UW-Eau Claire. Rounding out the top five were UW-Whitewater in third with 1,049 stokes, UW-Platteville in fourth with 1,069 strokes and defending champion UW-Stout in fifth with 1,101 strokes. UWO coach Liza Ruetten was named the WIAC Coach of the Year following the team’s victory, the first since Kris Schoonover in 2000. Ruetten said the message going into the WIAC tournament was the same as it always is. “Play one shot at a time,” Ruetten said. “The girls are very aware that one bad shot or a few bad holes do not define them.” While McKenzie Paul and Kayla Priebe were the top two finishers in the tournament, Ruetten said all of the girls met their goals over the weekend. “Everyone helped chip in for the title,” Reutten said. “Golf, although played alone at the collegiate level, is a team event.” Paul captured the individual title of the tournament with scores of 78, 78, and 76, leading to a 13 stroke lead over the second place finisher, fellow Titan Priebe. Paul said she used her coach’s wise words before the tournament started. “I made some careless errors, but no one is perfect,” Paul said. “The most important shot is the next one and being able to recover from a bad shot.” While Paul had a score of 78, she said the second day of the tournament was the most challenging. “The greens were ten times faster and the pin placements were extremely difficult,” Paul said. With three score under 80 and capturing a conference title, Paul said the weekend certainly meant a little more “The memories made this past weekend will last a lifetime,” Paul said. Another top five golfer for the Titans was Laura Stair who finished with a total score of 251 after shooting 79, 86, and 86. Since the championship was a three day event, Stair said she knew one shot wasn’t going to determine the outcome. “[I focused on] not breaking down and letting one bad hole determine my entire round,” Stair said. “I just kept thinking how much golf we had left to play,” Stair said. Stair finished the tournament with 21 birdies and five pars and she said it was a great weekend overall. “The feeling is indescribable,” Stair said. “I’m honestly still in shock, and it hasn’t hit me yet that we really won,” Stair said. With the win, the Titans secured a place in the NCAA Division III Championship next May.