The Valparaiso University women’s golf team made a statement in their first ever Missouri Valley Conference Championship round on Sunday at Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, Kan. Sophomore Kayla Krueger (Spring Lake, Mich. / Spring Lake) is tied for medalist honors through 18 holes after posting a 75 despite competing in unfavorable weather conditions.
How It Happened
- Krueger was the star of the day, finishing three strokes over par after enjoying an even par front nine. She is deadlocked with four others – Missouri State’s Verena Gimmy and Rachel Johnson, Loyola Jessie Staed and Indiana State’s Thilda Staubo – for the tournament lead. Krueger had 11 pars and two birdies on her way to the memorable day.
- Kylie Shoemake (Schererville, Ind. / Lake Central) was second on the team with a 79 out of the No. 5 spot in Valpo’s lineup. She is part of a tie for 20th heading into Round 2.
- Katie Willenbrink (Mishawaka, Ind. / Penn) started the final tournament of her collegiate career with an 83, which puts her at T-38.
- Madison McCreary (Batesville, Ind. / Batesville) and Tiffany Curtis (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point) both posted 85s. They are tied for 42nd.
- As a team, ninth-place Valpo (322) is 10 strokes ahead of Evansville and within striking distance of UNI (320), Bradley (320), Illinois State (319) and Drake (317). Missouri State (305) holds a four-stroke lead over Indiana State for the top spot in the team standings.
Inside the Rounds
- Krueger became the first player in program history to be tied for first after one round of the conference championship.
- Her 75 marked the best first-round score in a conference championship by any player in program history.
- Krueger’s round was Valpo’s best of the season both in total score and relation to par. It was the lowest 18-hole score by a Crusader since McCreary posted a 75 in the final round of last year’s Horizon League Championships.
- Krueger was two strokes better than her previous career low of 77.
- Shoemake’s 79 matched her season best.
- The 322 (+34) equaled Valpo’s best team round of the season and marked the best round of the spring campaign. The Crusaders shot 322 (+34) in the final round of the Loyola Fall Invitational on Sept. 19. It was also Valpo’s best score in the opening round of the conference championship since 2014.
- The Crusaders were one of four teams in the 10-team field to post eight birdies or more. They had exactly eight with Curtis, Krueger and McCreary carding two apiece.
- The tee-time temperature was 37 degrees with a real feel of 22 and steady winds of 25 miles per hour.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jon Haas
“I’m extremely pleased with the way the team played today. We’ve put ourselves in a position to catch a few strong MVC programs the next two days despite playing in horrible weather.”
“Kayla was incredible today. She hit a ton of fairways and her putter got hot in the middle of the round. She’s worked very hard and was able to shoot a score that reflects her hard work.”
The MVC Championship will continue on Monday with the second round of the event at Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, Kan. Live scoring is available courtesy of GolfStat.