Shipley fires even par to earn GLIAC title

GVL/Spencer Miller
Gabrielle Shipley (junior) hits the ball onto the green as she prepares for regionals during a practice on April 30th, 2015.

GVL/Spencer Miller Gabrielle Shipley (junior) hits the ball onto the green as she prepares for regionals during a practice on April 30th, 2015.

Mason Tronsor

Grand Valley State junior Gabrielle Shipley won her first individual GLIAC title and helped the women’s golf team capture its eighth straight GLIAC title on April 26.

Shipley recorded a score of 72 each day of the GLIAC Championship.

“I never really pay attention to the scoreboard until after everything is done,” Shipley said. “I just try and focus on my game and the shot that is in front of me.”

Shipley was tied for first place heading into the final day of the tournament with Findlay’s Michele Schambs. After shooting 1-over 37 on the front nine holes, Shipley finished strong with a 1-under-35 on the back nine to finish at even par overall and snag the title of tournament champion.

“I just tried to focus on my own game,” Shipley said. “I knew (Schambs) was a good player, but I tried not to focus on what she was doing and just focused on my own game.”

Last season, Shipley earned her second consecutive All-GLIAC First Team honor and recorded GVSU’s second-lowest scoring average.

This season, however, Shipley has elevated her game to another level thanks to dedication and hard work.

“It’s awesome that all of her hard work has paid off and people can finally see how much she has put in,” said teammate Alex Taylor. “I think getting this victory will really amp her fire and have her work even harder.”

Shipley’s performance also propelled the Lakers to their eighth straight GLIAC team championship – an occurrence that Laker head coach Rebecca Mailloux hopes to continue in the future.

“We always try to focus on the team first,” Mailloux said. “If someone comes out with an individual title, that’s a bonus for us, but we always stress the team first.”

The tournament was held in Findlay, Ohio at the Findlay Country Club. Shipley led the tournament with 10 total birdies and was fifth in pars with 34. Shipley also recorded the best scores on all the par fours and fives.

“You had to put the ball on a certain part of the green to have a chance at a birdie or sometimes even a par,” Shipley said. “The rough right off the fairway was really rough as well.”

That same day, April 26, Shipley was named the 2015 GLIAC Women’s Golf Athlete of the Year, marking the fourth consecutive year a GVSU student-athlete has won the award. Shipley was also named to the 2015 All-GLIAC First Team. Mailloux believes Shipley can play golf at the next level if she continues to work hard and improve her game.

“Gabby is the type of kid that will give 120 percent every time out,” Mailloux said. “You never have to tell her to practice. She loves the game and hates to take a day off.”

Shipley’s game has come a long way since her freshman year. A native of Hastings, Mich., Shipley has learned to harness the mental aspects of golf.

“Coming into college I didn’t give much thought to the mental side of golf,” Shipley said. “Coach Mailloux helped me realize there is much more to golf than hitting a golf ball.”

Living and breathing golf almost every day, Shipley hopes to someday hit the links professionally. Other hobbies have come and gone throughout life, but day in and day out, golf remains.

She’d like it to stay that way.