Junior Cailey Rooker (St. Joseph, Mich. / St. Joseph) celebrated her birthday in style by putting together a pair of quality rounds for the Valparaiso University women’s golf team on Sunday. Rooker led the way for the Beacons, who utilized a lineup comprised of two newcomers and three returning players for the first tournament of the season – the Redbird Invitational, hosted by Illinois State at the par-72, 6022-yard Weibring Golf Club in Normal, Ill.
How It Happened
- Rooker turned in a strong first round by going one stroke over par with a 73. She followed with a 77 in Round 2 to finish the day with a team-best 150 (+6). Rooker is tied for 25th in a competitive, 89-player field.
- Payton Hodson (Middleton, Wis. / Middleton) went sub-80 in both rounds on the opening day of her senior season, going 77-79. She finished the day with 156 strokes over 36 holes, second on the team.
- Freshman Madison Keil (LaGrange, Ind. / Lakeland) started her collegiate career in memorable fashion with an eagle on her first hole. She finished the day with a 158 (77-81, + 14).
- Freshman Anna Fay (Ada, Mich. / Forest Hills) also made her collegiate debut and shaved six strokes off her Round 1 score with a 77 in Round 2. She tied with Rooker for the best second-round score on the team.
- As a team, Valpo finished the day at 624 (310-314, +48). The Beacons are currently in 16th but are within striking distance of a 14th-place tie between Western Illinois and Indiana State (618) entering the final day. Eastern Kentucky leads the tournament with a 572 while Amelie Svejda of IUPUI is atop the individual leaderboard at 137.
Inside the Rounds
- Rooker’s Round 1 score established a new personal best as she trimmed three strokes off her previous career low, which came on Sept. 17, 2019 in the third round of the Loyola Fall Invitational.
- Rooker’s 73 in the first round earned a place in the program record book, tied for seventh all-time in overall 18-hole total score. It marked Valpo’s best single-round score since Kylie Shoemake also carded a 73 on April 3, 2017 at the Fort Wayne Classic.
- Rooker’s score in relation to par earned an even more noteworthy place in the program record book, as her +1 is tied for sixth all-time. She became the first Valpo women’s golfer to go +1 or better since Katie Willenbrink in the third round of the WSU Cougar Cup on Sept. 20, 2016.
- Four different Valpo golfers produced 18-hole scores of 77 or better on Sunday.
- By completing the first round at 22 strokes over par, Valpo entered the program record book for single-round 18-hole team low in relation to par, tying for eighth. That was Valpo’s best score since also carding a +22 on April 2, 2017 in the first round of the Fort Wayne Classic.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jill McCoy
“It was a great start to a new season. Cailey played really well this morning and kept playing very solid this afternoon. It was a great way to celebrate her birthday. Madison Keil began her college debut with an eagle on her very first collegiate hole. She played some great golf today. Anna Fay settled in after a few holes and finished her first college rounds with a good score. I am very proud of everyone and excited to see what we can do tomorrow.”
The final 18 holes of the tournament will occur on Monday in Normal. A link to live scoring via BirdieFire can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.