Statesmen Gain Fourth-Straight Runner-Up Finish
Lincoln, Neb.–The William Penn women’s golf team did not break any records this week, but it did something even more impressive by finishing high at the NAIA Preview hosted by Doane College Monday and Tuesday.
The Statesmen tied for second out of 18 teams at the par-72 Wilderness Ridge Golf Course with a two-day score of 671 (341-330). #11 Bellevue (Neb.) held off the field for the title at 657 (336-321).
Wilderness Ridge will be the host site for the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships next May.
#27 WPU tied #23 SCAD Atlanta and placed in front of five other rated programs, including #9 Wayland Baptist (Texas), #20 Grand View, #25 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), fellow #25 Oklahoma Baptist, and Baker (Kan.), who is receiving votes.
Natalie Ugalde of Wayland Baptist defeated Lauren Fitts of Dakota Wesleyan in a scorecard playoff to win medalist honors at 157.
Demi Coertze (So., Johannesburg, South Africa, Digital Communication) guided the Statesmen in fourth place out of 95 players at 159 (82-77).
“Demi played some of the best golf of her career at William Penn,” Head Coach Nik Rule said. “Her mental game is in such a productive state right now, and she has matured so much in this last month. She is really molding herself into a leader on and off the golf course.”
Jing Yang (Fr., Woodland Hills, Calif., Biology) just missed the top ten, tying for 11th at 165 (83-82).
“Jing is another player who had an impressive performance,” Rule said. “She has been consistent all year and is really embracing a role as an important part of our team.”
Maggie Yang (Jr., Chino, Calif., Business Management) battled to also place in the top 20, tying for 16th at 169 (84-85), while Alexandria Eckenrod (Jr., Mason City, Iowa, Elementary Education) tied for 33rd at 178 (92-86). Natalie Booton (So., Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Elementary Education) wrapped up the squad’s scoring by tying for 46th at 185 (96-89).
“We played an incredibly-tough course and some even tougher conditions and battled through both days,” Rule said. “I am proud of the way our team picked one another up. When the top-of-the-lineup struggled, the back half stepped up and filled the void to help propel us near the top.”
“This was by far the toughest golf course that a team of mine has played at,” Rule added. “The course played very different than it did last year. The pins were tucked into corners on every green, and the greens were rolling quicker than I have ever seen before. Our ladies made adjustments throughout this week that helped us stay ahead of so many good teams.”
“This was a very important result for us and I believe it makes a statement that our low scores are legitimate and that we can contend with and beat some of the best teams in the NAIA,” Rule said.
Next: William Penn travels to Grinnell Saturday to compete in the Grinnell Classic.