Women’s golf wraps up fall season with ninth-place finish in Saint Leo Invite


GVSU Athletics

Jason Millis, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University women’s golf team closed out its fall season in the Saint Leo Invitational as they finished ninth overall against eight nationally ranked opponents.

Considering the previous statement, this invitational could be viewed as the toughest of the Lakers’ fall season as five of the eight ranked opponents are ranked within the top-12 teams in Division II. 

Although GVSU managed to hold off the unranked teams participating in the invite, they were unable to place above any of the eight ranked teams.

“It was definitely the strongest field we played in all year,” said head coach Rebecca Mailloux. “As a coach, you always want more, but overall, I’m happy with what we did down in Florida.”

The Lakers had a rough start in the first round, shooting a score of 313 (+25) and falling into 11th place as they were only five strokes ahead of Coast Georgia. 

The second round was cut short due to low visibility (dusk), and GVSU would finish the first day at 36 strokes above par (612 score).

With day one behind them, the Lakers closed out the second round with a slightly better shooting performance (299, +11) and taking over Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s 10th-place position.

The Lakers kept the momentum rolling, shooting an even 288 to complete the third round and overtaking Palm Beach Atlantic University for ninth place with a score of 900 (+36).

“We had a pretty terrible first round, but you can see the progression that was made over the rounds,” Mailloux said. “I think that was a way of the girls saying ‘we’ve got nothing to lose at this point, so let’s just go play some golf.’ I’m definitely happy it went in that direction instead of the other direction.”

Sophomores Paula Badino and Olivia Stoll led the Lakers as their final scores finished within just one stroke of one another; Badino (71, -1) jumped six positions with her third-round score to place in a three-way tie for 19th at 221 (+5).

Stoll had a rough start to the invitational, finishing round one with 81 strokes (+9). She reeled it back in and shot 73 (+1) in the second round and 68 (-4) in the third round. Stoll jumped up 19 spots to make a fierce comeback and finish in a three-way tie herself with a 222 score (+6).

“I thought Paula did really well,” Mailloux said. “She was super steady and consistent, and she closed it out on a high note with her performance. Olivia ended the season on a high note as well. Shooting four under par on the final day was super impressive. Finishing it out the way both of them did was really solid.”

The remaining two sophomores on the team, Julia Sanchez and Megan Miron, finished in 38th place (Sanchez) and a four-way tie for 39th (Miron) with scores of 228 and 229 respectively.

In each invite this fall season, the Lakers came in as the underdogs with only four golfers playing this season. While the deficit put the Lakers at a disadvantage, Mailloux thought it put the team in a position to play better each time out to make up for the shortcoming.

“I don’t know if we could have shot a 288 if we had five on the lineup,” Mailloux said. “I think these girls learned how to handle the pressure this fall, knowing that their score was going to count each and every time. It was stressful to them at times, but I think, in the long run, they’re going to be better golfers.”

The Lakers are now ranked 18th in Division II, a position that Mailloux felt was not too far off. 

Now that they are headed into the offseason, Badino said the team will continue to prepare for the spring season.

“We’ve worked really hard during the fall, and we’re going to work even harder for the spring,” Badino said. “We’ve been doing a great job training, and we’re going to have to keep doing that.”