Lakers cap Vulcan Invitational with strong Monday performance

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter
Senior golfer Allie Tyler

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter Senior golfer Allie Tyler

Derek Wolff

Behind a strong performance on a blustery Monday afternoon, the Grand Valley State University women’s golf team outlasted the weather and all other teams to post a round leading team score of 322 at the Vulcan Invitational in Belle Vernon, Pa.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, their 322 – the lowest score by nine strokes on a gusty, rain-soaked day – saw them finish just outside the top spot. After carding a 319 on Sunday, their combined two-day total of 641 saw them finish just two strokes away from the team title.

Host California University of Pennsylvania captured the team title with a 639 while Ashland University finished third after carding a team score of 647.

Individually, junior Sarah Hoffman finished in third place after carding a pair of 78s for a combined score of 156 ( 12). Freshman Veronica Ryan finished fourth after carding an 82 on Sunday and a round-leading 75 on Monday.

“Before the round, I talked with Sarah (Hoffman), and she was telling me that everyone would have the same troubles as me, so I should just take one shot at a time and bring out my confidence,” Ryan said. “I tried to commit to every shot and take each one at a time, and it worked.”

Despite wind gusting up to speeds of 40 mph, Hoffman said the weather did not affect her play, especially after playing in worse conditions in Northern Kentucky on March 26.

“Realizing that everyone was playing under the same conditions allowed me to put that out of my mind and focus on what I was doing,” Hoffman said. “I wasn’t hitting the ball particularly well, but I was able to scramble pretty well, especially on the second day.”

The team has found solidarity in its play recently as evidenced by four Lakers finishing within the top 15 after Monday. Joining Hoffman and Ryan were senior Allie Tyler (T10) and sophomore Ashley Beard (T15). Tyler carded a two-day score of 166 while Beard shot one stroke behind at 167.

“Right now, it’s good to know that we’re getting contributions from everyone,” Hoffman said. “When someone doesn’t have their best round, someone else steps up. This weekend, it was Marni (Weinstein) on Sunday and Veronica (Ryan) on Monday. People are really stepping up when they need to, and it’s been helping us out a lot.”

The team will prepare for the Northwood Invitational on April 16 by playing a dual match against Ferris State University at Pilgrim’s Run golf course Saturday.

The Lakers will have to travel back to Belle Vernon on May 1 for the NCAA Division II Regionals. Having figured out some of the trickier aspects of the course over the weekend, head coach Rebecca Mailloux was confident her team would be successful when it returns in May.

“I definitely don’t think it’s one of the girl’s favorite golf courses to play, but the reality is that we have to go back there in a month and be ready to perform,” Mailloux said. “I think we’ll go back there next time knowing some of the holes and knowing where to miss and where not to miss and have the edge over some teams who haven’t seen it before.”

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