KU’s women’s golf team were reading greens and driving balls with the best of them at the Clarion Invitational this past weekend. Their play was so phenomenal that the team took first place for the second straight year. Though no individual on the Golden Bears took first place, KU had multiple golfers finish in the top-20.
Sophomore Lauren Smith led the team at the Clarion Invitational placing third out of over 70 competitors. After the first round of competition, Smith led the entire field with a 77-stroke performance on a par 72. In the second round Smith shot an 82, dropping her to third place, six strokes behind the winning golfer, Morgan Miller from Seton Hill University. Smith’s first round was also the third best round of the invitational, behind the second day performance of the top two golfers on the second day. Houseal improved on her fourth place finish last year.
In second place after the first round was another KU golfer, junior Jackie Clifton. Clifton shot a 79 on the first day, two strokes behind Smith. Her first round performance was fifth best in the entire tournament. Regrettably, she would shoot an 82 in the second round to finish with a tie for fifth place.
Other golfers contributing to the Clarion Invitational success were senior Mindy Glatfelter and sophomore Madison Houseal. Glatfelter, who placed seventh last season, had an outstanding day with a 13th place finish. Houseal finished fourth last season, but with more schools competing this season, it was much harder to break the top-10. Houseal ended up with a 21st place finish with a final score of 30 over par as Glatfelter finished 26 over par.
Sophomore Devan Everett was on pace to finish in the top-10 after her first round. An 84 stroke first day was one of the better performances at the Clarion golf course. Unfortunately, her second round of 91 was not enough to keep her in the top 20, but she did finish one stroke behind teammate Houseal.
Although her score was not computed into KU’s team score, sophomore Kelly Quigley finished the day with a 180 overall score in two rounds. This was good enough for 34th place, making KU the only team with all of their golfers in the top half of competition.
KU continues to impress people even with a bigger field, growing from nine teams to 11 this year. Even so, KU shot an overall 662 as a team. KU was five strokes ahead of runner-up Wheeling Jesuit University. Unfortunately, unlike the last Clarion Invitational, no KU golfer won it. Last season alumnus Chelsea Corbo took first and recorded KU’s best score on a par-72 by reaching par.
KU is playing excellent golf and will hopefully do so next competition if trends continue. KU will host the KU Invitational Oct. 6. Last season, Glatfelter was on fire as she took first place two strokes ahead of Houseal. KU finished five competitors in the top-10 last year and destroyed the nine-team field. Expect much of the same from the women’s golf team this time around.
By Frank Lippincott