The women’s golf team started its spring season with two straight third place finishes and one NSIC Golfer of the Week award.
Junior Molly Stevens finished third overall at the Vikings’ spring opener in California on March 10-11. She shot an opening round 78, followed by a 74 in the second and final round. This is her second NSIC Golfer of the Week award of the season, previously having earned it on September 29.
“It was great to play well during that first tournament, but there are always things to work on both individually and as a team,” Stevens said. “I am continuing to work on my ball striking and course management to improve as the season progresses. As a team, we have some lofty goals for the season, so we are just working hard to improve and play to the best of our abilities week after week.”
This winter, the team has been able to train for its spring season like never before. The addition of a simulator located on campus gives them free rein to analyze their swing and look deeper into their own statistical data.
“No longer are the student-athletes hitting it into a net and judging the hit based on feel and sound,” coach Coralee Jorgensen said. “ Now, they are able to see the ball flight and the numbers that correspond with the ball flight. It is a game-changer. Some of the numbers we are looking at are ball speed, ball distance, swing path, launch angle, spin rate, degree of clubface position and squareness of hit. The numbers validate why the ball went where it did. It allows for the golfer to adjust their swing to improve.”
The Spring Fling at Desert Willow Golf Resort on March 10-11 saw seven teams competing and the winner of the event was Indianapolis with a total of 606 strokes (303-303). The Greyhounds were then followed by Grand Valley State which had 612 strokes (308-304) and Augustana with 632 strokes (323-309).
Stevens led the way with her Golfer of the Week performance. Senior Natalie Young placed second for the Vikings and finished the tournament tied for 13th with a score of 159 (82-77). Sophomore Lauren Tims finished in a tie for 14th place with 160 (83-77). Senior Hanna Morin finished in a tie for 16th with 161 (80-81). Rounding out the team of five was senior Kait Asklund, who finished in a tie for 28th with a score of 171 (87-84).
The Midwest Intercollegiate Invite on March 21-22 in Bolivar, Missouri, featured 17 teams, with the Vikings placing third with 632 total strokes, just eight behind Central Oklahoma and nine behind the winner, Central Missouri.
Stevens (79-78) and freshman Shannon McCormick (78-79) finished in a tie for seventh place with 157 strokes. Morin finished in a tie for 14th overall with 159 strokes (80-79). Young placed in a tie for 23rd with 163 strokes (82-81), and Tims placed in a tie for 38th with 167 strokes (90-77).
“There have been some high-ranking teams at our first few events this spring,” Stevens said. “Without being able to practice outside all winter, we do our best with indoor practicing and perfecting our swings on the simulator. Luckily, we were able to get a couple of full rounds in California before our first tournament. Compared to the fall when we have the whole summer beforehand to play and prepare for the season, it is usually more difficult to start up the spring season.”
The Vikings will compete in three more spring tournaments before the NSIC Championships April 22-24 in Smithville, Missouri. They will be looking to win back-to-back NSIC titles.
“Our team needs to keep grinding,” Jorgensen said. “We will be practicing in wind and rain to prepare them for such days on the course. We will work hard on their confidence and positive mindset. Most importantly, it takes a team to advance past the conference championship. All players need to give it their best, day after day.”