By Michael Haag | Sports Writer
No. 15 Baylor women’s golf finished its first stroke-play event of the spring in Melbourne, Fla., tied for 10th place Tuesday in the Moon Golf Invitational with a 54-hole total of 882. It was a new course for the squad in the three-day event at Suntree Country Club, where the team faced 14 other schools.
Florida State University secured the team title with a 10-under 854 score, while Louisiana State University’s junior Ingrid Lindblad brought the individual medalist honors back to Baton Rouge with a score of 10-under 206.
The Bears opened the spring with Desert Match Play back on Jan. 22, but this was the first collegiate competition for the team in over three months. The finish wasn’t ideal for head coach Jay Goble, but he thinks he saw some bright spots as they ease back into competitive play.
“It was not great overall, but there were some flashes of brilliance,” Goble said. “More than anything, I think it’s good to be back in competition.”
The first round of action was a bit of a blunder for Baylor, as the team finished Sunday in 12th place with a score of 13-over 301. The Bears bounced back on day two, jumping into the top 10 of the leaderboards at ninth place.
For all three days, it was a consistent effort from fifth-year senior Gurleen Kaur, who notched her fourth top-10 finish in five stroke-play events this season. For her career, she has 18 top 10s, the fourth most in program history, three behind Hannah Burke and Melanie Hagewood (21).
On Tuesday, Kaur shot a 1-under 71 for her third straight round of par or better. She was tied for 10th individually with her three-day total of 2-under 314.
The senior from Houston shot an opening-hole bogey, but proceeded to play the next 13 holes at 3-under-par. Bogeys at holes No. 14 and 17 gave her more trouble, but again she rallied to close the tournament with a birdie to give her four birdies on the day. Kaur was one of five players in the field to shoot par or better in all three rounds.
Freshman Antonia Matte posted an even par-72 to give her consecutive rounds at par or better. She put herself in red figures with a birdie at the par-4 fourth, but fell back out after a triple-bogey seven at the par-4 ninth. To make up ground, she recorded birdies at No. 10, 11 and 18 to get back to even par, which tied her for 50th place at 7-over 223 for the event.
Matte led the Bears in par-5 scoring with a 4.67 (-4) average, the fifth best for the tournament.
Sophomore Rosie Belsham hung a 2-over 74 on Tuesday to finish tied for 58th. Belsham started off slow playing the front-nine at 2-over, but she answered with an even par-36 on the back, with a pair of huge birdies at No. 17 and 18.
Baylor’s final counting score came from sophomore Britta Snyder, a 4-over 76 finish. Her three-day total of 11-over 226 put her in a tie for 60th.
To close out the tournament, junior Hannah Karg carded a 6-over 78 to finish the weekend at 234, a 78th place individual conclusion.
Goble said he’s thankful for the tournament, as it shows the group what they need to work on. He believes it’s only a matter of time before his squad hits their stride in the spring.
“It’s good to get a glimpse of what we need to work on to get better and what we need to do to move forward,” Goble said. “In my mind, that’s what this tournament is going to do for us. Finishing ninth, 10th and 11th place is ideally not where we want to be, but from what I saw this week, we can get there. I definitely see a lot of upside to our games, and we’ll be moving in that direction, I promise you.”
Baylor gets a little over a week before the team heads to South Carolina for the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, slated for Feb. 28 – March 2 at the Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island. This is the first time ever that an all-women’s regular-season collegiate event will be televised on the Golf Channel. Live coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. CT each day.