Valparaiso’s women’s golf team continued its strong showing to start the season, setting a new team record after shooting 323 in the opening round of the CSU Cougar Classic held at Lost Marsh Golf Course in Hammond, Ind. on Monday.
The Crusaders 323 total puts the Brown and Gold in a tie for sixth place heading into Tuesday’s final round, and betters the old mark of 324 set last week in the Green Bay Invitational.
“We did not play up to our ability today but I definitely think we are in position to catch some teams tomorrow,” head coach Mike Higdon said. “We gave a lot of shots away with too many doubles and triples. Where we have positioned ourselves in the field, it is critical not to have that happen.”
Michelle Kleckner (New Brighton, Mich./Irondale H.S.) led the way for the Crusaders, carding a 77 on the 5,900-yard, par-72 layout. The freshman is tied for ninth individually after matching her opening round from the first tournament of the season, which marks the best 18-hole score in program history.
“Michelle played well today,” Higdon added. “She was under par with a 35 on the front side, which is the tougher of the two nines out here.”
Annie Nolan (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) and Kelly Voigt (Palatine, Ill./Fremd H.S.) both shot 81 in the opening round and are tied for 24th place in the 86 player field. For Voigt, the 81 marks her lowest collegiate round to date.
Brianna Davy (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) carded an 84, also a season’s best, to round out the scoring for the Brown and Gold. Erika Pfaender (Pewaukee, Wis./Arrowhead H.S.) shot 85 while Alyssa Cameron (Warsaw, Ind./Warsaw H.S.) posted a 91 in her collegiate debut. Jessica O’Brien (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) shot a 92 in her first action of the season as well.
IUPUI leads the way at 308 while Butler is second two shots behind the Jaguars. SIU Edwardsville is in fifth place, four shots ahead of Valpo. The Crusaders are tied with Dayton and five strokes ahead of Eastern Illinois.
Individually, Michele Nash of Butler leads the tournament at the midway point with a one-under par 71.
Valparaiso will return to the links on Tuesday morning for an 8 a.m. shotgun start to conclude the tournament action.