UWO golf finishes in third place at WIAC Championship

Neal Hogden

UWO women’s golf come together after the team’s third-place finish at the Reedsburg Country Club to end the season.
[/media-credit] UWO women’s golf come together after the team’s third-place finish at the Reedsburg Country Club to end the season.

The UW Oshkosh golf team ended its fall season at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship in Reedsburg over the weekend. The team placed third, three shots behind UW-Stout and 20 shots back of champion UW-Whitewater, with a three-day score of 962.

The low scorer for the Titans was junior Kayla Priebe with a score of 235 for the tournament. Priebe averaged 5.17 strokes on par-5 holes and 3.33 strokes on par-3 holes, helping her to take third out of 52 golfers. Last year, Priebe also finished third in the WIAC Championship with a score of 242.

Also placing in the top-10 were senior Micayla Richards in sixth at 238 and sophomore Hannah Braun in 10th with a score of 241. Braun led the field in par-3 scoring, shooting an even three shots per par-3. This caps a very strong season for both golfers as they have been in and around the top-10 in every tournament this year.

Braun said she enjoyed the wet course as she felt like it gave her an advantage when using her irons.

“One characteristic that allowed me to be successful was the fact that you could attack the pin,” Braun said. “Since the course was so wet, the balls were sticking where they landed on the green.”

Other top finishers for the Titans were sophomore Anna Scheibe, who tied for 22nd place with an overall score of 257, and freshman Keara Richards in 33rd with a score of 266.

UWO, along with the rest of the field, had to deal with a very rain-soaked course during the first two days of the tournament. Priebe noticed that the rain affected the course and said it also altered players’ mentalities when preparing for their next shot.

“The rain made the course pretty wet in some areas,” Priebe said. “It slowed the greens down a little on Saturday, but overall the rain was just a good reminder to stay in the moment and focus on the things we could control.”

Micayla Richards was another golfer who had to tackle the challenge of rain in the forecast and said even though the teams knew it was coming, it was still difficult to plan for.

“We knew going into the weekend that we would most likely play in rain, which always gives you an uneasy feeling because it adds to everything else when you plan out your next shot,” Richards said. “Understanding that everyone else had to play in the same conditions just meant that you had to play your best and take one shot at a time.”

The rain didn’t deter Richards from holding a three-shot lead after the first day of the tournament. Her round of 75 was the second-lowest scoring round during the whole tournament.

Richards said her feelings after the first day of the tournament were very erratic in nature, and she needed to calm down in order to have success.

“I was very excited and nervous that I was leading the field after day one,” Richards said. “I did feel added pressure on myself going into the second day knowing that I performed so well on the first day. I wanted to be consistent for the next two days of play.”

Individual golfers for UWO were sophomore Hannah Rebholz in 22nd place, junior golfer Ireland Dunne in 28th, sophomore Sophia Mazurek in 37th and freshman Michelle Lodholz in 46th.

Head coach Liza Ruetten summed up the team’s efforts during the tournament. “We knew the weekend was going to be very close between Stout, Whitewater and us,” Ruetten said. “Both teams were ranked slightly ahead of us in team average scores. I was very proud of the collective efforts of all five [of our players] on varsity.”

End of an era

This marks the end of the fall season for the team. This also marks the end of senior Micayla Richards’ college golf career. After continuously shooting lower and lower scores during her first three years golfing for the Titans, this year she relished the role of the leader of this young team.

Priebe offered up some praise for her teammate and said her contributions were invaluable to the team’s success.

“Micayla has been such a great leader for our team this year,” Priebe said. “The way that Micayla’s hard work paid off through her tournament scores was a great motivator to everyone on this team to work hard to achieve those same standards.”

Richards took home the WIAC sportsmanship award for UWO. Priebe said her constant display of friendship towards her opponents and teammates are why she was given the award.

“She is very deserving of the sportsmanship award because of her attitude, which was a great example for everyone on our team to follow,” Priebe said. “During tournaments, I saw her display excellent sportsmanship and player etiquette, even when her playing competitors did not give her the same courtesy.”

Richards described how she displayed sportsmanship to other players and said that was a key part of her game.

“When I play with different teams, I always introduce myself in the beginning, conversate while we are playing and tell them good shot, putt, chip, etc.,” said Richards. “I think it is important to have fun while playing, and to enjoy it with the people we are playing with. It can be a very long and tiring round if you don’t talk to each other. After the round, I always shake my opponents’ hands and tell them nice round.”

Playing in her final WIAC Championship, Richards said it brought her a bittersweet feeling as she looked back on the tournament.

“I have an amazing relationship with my coach and teammates, and I will be forever grateful to have been a Titan,” Richards said.
The Titans will kick off their spring season in April 2018.