GVSU women’s golf wins NC4K College Classic

GVL / Courtesy - Brett Dunbar
Gabrielle Shipley competes in the GLIAC tournament Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Brett Dunbar

GVL / Courtesy – Brett Dunbar Gabrielle Shipley competes in the GLIAC tournament Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Brendan McMahon

The Grand Valley State women’s golf team dominated the NC4K College Classic in Columbus, Ohio from April 3-4, making it the second consecutive tournament the Lakers have taken first place in this spring season.

The rest of the tournament field never stood a chance as the Lakers got out to an early lead, shooting a 299 (+11) in round one, giving them a 24-stroke lead over the competition.

“The first day they played incredible,” said GVSU head coach Rebecca Mailloux.

Despite the high winds and sub-freezing temperatures, the Lakers shot a 314 (+26) in round two, finishing the tournament with a 613 (+37). That score was good enough for the Lakers to take first place by 30 strokes over second-place Findlay.

“The girls weren’t happy with how they played the second day,” Mailloux said. “Sometimes you got to take what you get and can’t complain about a 30-stroke win.”

Gabrielle Shipley placed second individually and was low for the Lakers with a 150 (+6). Shipley shot even par on day one before adding six strokes the following round. Just behind her was junior Julie Guckian who paced third with a 153 (+9).

“I was happy with my performance,” Guckian said. “I can’t be mad because I knew I played really well, but at the same time I could have shot better.”

It’s tough to not win handily when all four scorers place in the top 10 individually, which is exactly what the Lakers did this tournament.

Junior Alex Taylor (+12) placed seventh individually and sophomore Samantha Moss placed eighth with a +16.

With elite individual scorers throughout the lineup, the Lakers have one of the deepest lineups in Division II, which is just one reason they are ranked No. 14 in the nation.

“That individual confidence that they gained has helped our overall performance,” Mailloux said. “You got to have inter-team competition and that’s what drives them.”

The Lakers seem to be playing an unbeatable brand of golf, led by Shipley, who recently won back-to-back GLIAC Women’s Golf Athlete of the Week awards and also owns the ninth-best average score per round in Division II at 74.67.

“If I keep practicing like I know I can it will take my game to the level it needs to be and I know I’ll be able to even play better,” Shipley said.

The NC4K Classic consisted of every team in the GLIAC. With the Lakers winning by such a significant margin, they seem poised to snatch a win at the GLIAC Tournament at the end of April.

The Lakers will host the GLIAC Tournament at The Meadows Golf Course. GVSU’s skill and home-course advantage build confidence for the Lakers, which they hope to gain plenty of before postseason tournaments.

“You can’t get too confident, because we had a lot of confidence going into regionals last year and it didn’t go so well,” Guckian said, referring to the Lakers missing the regional cut last year after claiming a No. 1 seed.

The Lakers are carefully handling their success and constantly learning and improving, and don’t plan to look past any opponents or take any tournaments lightly.

“We play for Grand Valley, we definitely have a target on our back,” Shipley said. “Knowing that we can’t just go out there and expect to play like we always play to win.”

The Lakers next will compete in the JBMF Cavalier Classic in North Canton, Ohio from April 16-17.