The Valparaiso University women’s golf team fended off host Fort Wayne by two strokes to finish in second place in the Fort Wayne Spring Classic at Pine Valley Country Club on Monday. In the process, the Crusaders posted the best 54-hole team score in program history. Katie Willenbrink (Mishawaka, Ind. / Penn), golfing as an individual, rounded out a strong event with a 77 in Round 3.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders turned in a team score of 319 on the final day of competition to finish at 941 over three rounds. They finished behind first-place Oakland, which won the event with an 895. The five-team field also included the host Mastodons, Detroit Mercy and Chicago State.
- Willenbrink, golfing as an individual, nabbed seventh place with a total score of 229.
- Angie Kim (Schaumberg, Ill/ Fremd) also notched a 77 on Monday, finishing the tournament at 232, in eighth place.
- Kylie Shoemake (Schererville, Ind. / Lake Central), golfing out of the No. 5 position, finished the event at 236 to rank tied for 10th. She carded an 81 on Monday.
- Madison McCreary (Batesville, Ind. / Batesville) posted a 78 in Round 3 to finish the event at 238, tied for 13th.
- Kiana Jongsma (Dyer, Ind. / Lake Central) ranked tied for 22nd after her 87 on the event’s final day put her total score at 244.
- Tiffany Curtis (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point) posted an 83 in Round 3 to finish at 245, tied for 25th.
- Sydney Shrum (Cloverdale, Ind. / Cloverdale) golfed as an individual and finished the tournament with an 80 on Monday for a total score of 238 that put her in a tie for 13th.
- Kayla Krueger (Spring Lake, Mich. / Spring Lake) trimmed 12 strokes off her Round 2 score by notching a 79 on Monday, by far her best round of the event. She finished at 254, putting her in 31st.
Inside the Rounds
- The score of 941 shattered the previous 54-hole team scoring record of 947, set this fall in the Golfweek Program Challenge. Before that, the record of 950 had stood since the 2013 Horizon League Championships.
- The 306 in the first round of the event on Sunday marked Valpo’s best round since Oct. 29, 2013. That 18-hole score ranked fifth in program history.
- The Crusaders finished the 54-hole event at +89, a mark that ranks third in program history. This was the team’s best ever regular-season 54-hole meet relative to par, as the two that rank ahead of this one are the Horizon League Championships in 2013 and 2014.
- Willenbrink’s 54-hole performance of 229 ranks fifth in team history. She bettered her own fifth-place mark set at the Golfweek Program Challenge this past fall by one stroke.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jon Haas
- On Placing Second: “We had three really solid rounds, top to bottom. It’s exciting for me with this being my first time bringing home a trophy in a college tournament. That’s pretty cool.”
- On Individual Highlights: “Katie’s rounds the last three days were the highlight. Coming from an individual position, after a rough week of qualifying, she put together three really good rounds. Angie was her usual really solid total for three days. She continues to not only play well on the course, but provides us with a lot of leadership for our younger players.
- On the team’s mental toughness: “They’re really grinding through difficult holes. They’re not letting the occasional bogey or double-bogey keep them back. They’ve learned to persevere when things aren’t going well.
- Looking Ahead: “I think we need to keep progressing the way we are. I don’t think we need to make any huge changes, we just need to keep working on our weaknesses and maintaining our good attitude. I think we can be a real player at conference a couple weeks from now. The talent is there.”
The Crusaders will be back at it on Sunday, April 9 for the Crusader/Jaguar Challenge, hosted at the Trophy Club in Lebanon, Ind.