With the season quickly coming to a close, Drake accomplished one of its goals for the season en route to finishing in third place at the Wichita State Spring Invitational on Monday and Tuesday.
The team had a goal of having at least four out of the five golfers shoot rounds in the 70s. The Bulldogs came away from the two-day meet accomplishing this goal by shooting an overall score of 307, which is the team’s lowest score of the season.
“We were just kind of trying to benchmark where we’re at and where we need to be in the next couple weeks,” head coach Leanne Smith said. “I think we accomplished what we needed to in this tournament.”
Once again, weather proved to be an obstacle in the beginning of the meet. On Monday, golfers faced 30 mph winds. Despite the harsh wind, the team was able to walk away from the first day with a score of 326 to start day two in third place.
“In the difficult conditions, we stuck with it and kept trying to get better,” senior Michelle Mathwick said. “It’s difficult and it wears you down a little bit, but you have to stay focused and not worry if you hit a couple bad shots because that will happen with weather like that.”
Mathwick in particular was able to stay strong and focused in spite of the adverse weather. After the first day, she was leading the team with a 77 in the opening round. She was the only Drake golfer that day that was able to shoot in the 70s.
On Tuesday, three other Bulldogs were able to join Mathwick in shooting in the 70s. Improved weather and team determination allowed the team to step it up in the final day of the meet to maintain its third-place standing.
“After a rough [Monday] everyone came back and played their best today,” Mathwick said. Smith agreed that the nicer weather made it easier for the team to play better on Tuesday.
Mathwick’s success continued as she went on to shoot a team-low of 72 and walked away in fifth place overall. Junior Chelsey Falk walked away with a 78, freshman Hadley Jennings with a 79, senior Kaitlyn Mauk with a 78 and junior Christy Wittmer with an 84.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster for everyone to play well today,” Mathwick said.
Now the team is preparing for the upcoming State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship on April 22-23. Last year, Drake placed second in the MVC tournament. The team is looking to do just as well if not better in this year’s meet.
The Bulldogs will continue to do the same things they have been doing to prepare, Smith said. Working on their short game has been one of their main focus points and it will continue to be as they approach the MVC tournament.
“We’ll continue working on the short game and learning how to keep bogies from turning into double bogies,” Smith said. “Overall, we’re happy with where we sit going into conference in the next couple weeks.”
Wichita State Spring Invitational
5. Michelle Mathwick 77-72 = 149
16. Chelsey Falk 82-78 = 160
19. Hadley Jennings 85-79 = 164
23. Kaitlyn Mauk 88-78 = 166
23. Christy Wittmer 82-84 = 166
3. Drake University 326-307 = 633