BOULDER CITY, Nevada — Paced with new U-M individual 54-hole tournament records of 205 (-11) from senior Catherine Peters and junior Grace Choi, the University of Michigan women’s golf team posted a U-M-record 835 (-29) team total to finish fourth at UNLV’s Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown today (Tuesday, Oct. 27) at the Boulder Creek Golf Club. The Wolverines set the new U-M record by 38 strokes.
Opening its fall finale on Sunday (Oct. 25), U-M opened shattering the team single-round, record posting a 275 (-13) and lowering the previous mark by nine shots. Pacing the historic round was a trio of career-low 68s (-4) — from Peters and sophomores Emily White and Kathy Lim. With 16 of the 19 teams posting a sub-par team tally, the Wolverines found themselves tied for the lead with San Jose State.
Rolling into Monday’s (Oct. 26) second round, the Wolverines remained red hot as Choi tied a U-M record for a single round with a 65 (-7). With 11 pars, seven birdies in her bogey-free round, Choi equaled former Wolverine Ashley Bauer’s (2007-10) school record and set her career best.
“The 65 was tons of fun,” said Choi. “My adrenaline was pumping through the final nine holes. It was an incredible feeling, and I was just relishing every moment of it. My putter really was the difference maker from the first day to the second day. I gave myself a lot of good looks at birdie, and I pretty much capitalized on every good opportunity.”
With the addition of a second straight career-low 68 (-4) from Peters added to Choi’s 65, U-M secured a 279 (-9), giving the Wolverines a two-day 553 (-22). Despite its second straight sub-par round, U-M dropped to second as San Jose State used a second straight 275 take the tournament lead and hold a four-shot lead over the Wolverines.
Playing in the final pairing, U-M posted its third straight sub-par team tally today, closing with a 281 (-7) as Choi and Peters carded 69s (-3), while White had her second sub-par round of the event with a 70 (-2). With low scoring across the 19-team field, 17 teams finished below par, including the Wolverines. With its 835 (-29) tally, the Maize and Blue slipped to fourth but managed to re-write the U-M 54-hole tournament record by 38 strokes, topping the 873 at the 2001 Lady Northern Invitational (Sept. 21-23).
“For the entire week, the conditions were ideal for scoring,” said U-M head coach Jan Dowling. “It actually put more pressure on the entire field because everyone knew that players and teams were going to get hot. There was a pressure to make birdies. Our team, absolutely, capitalized on those opportunities; our scores showed with that. Overall, it was a tremendous week. We came into the final round with a tremendous opportunity, and that was our goal the entire week. We knew other teams were going to get hot today, and we needed to make a lot of birdies. The team really fought hard, and we had some really small errors, but overall it was a real solid week heading into our offseason.
“Every player on this team came to Michigan to put their mark on the program and to leave it in a better place. They are well on their way after crushing some scoring records and gaining more and more confidence. Seeing each other shoot these low scores is contagious. I am just very pleased with the whole team. It was a great team effort. We are already talking about the spring and how we can improve and start our marks for this year.”
“It was such an incredible week, full of new personal and team records,” added Choi. “We came here to win, and we gave it a great run. I know this is just the beginning of many more successes to come, and we really proved to each other of what we are capable of as a team. We will work hard in the winter months, and we cannot wait until the spring.”
Individually, Choi and Peters led the Wolverines in record-breaking fashion as they each tied for fifth with a new U-M 54-hole individual record 205 (-11). Choi (71-65-69) and Peters (68-68-69) lowered the previous mark by four shots — 209 by Ashley Bauer’s (2007-10) at the 2010 Rio Verde Invitational (March 5-7). White (68-74-70) bookended her sub-par rounds to close with a second straight sub-par 54-hole total at 212 (-4), tying her for 31st, while Lim (68-73-73) set a career best by eight shots with her 214 (-2), tying her for 45th. Sophomore Megan Kim rounded out the U-M starting five as she tied for 96th at 225 (73-73-79).
“Cat (Peters) and Grace (Choi) were just great, and I am really, really proud of them both. For Cat to come out and shoot her low round of her collegiate career; follow that up tying that and follow those with a third round in the 60s is an impressive feat. It’s something she has never done before, and it takes a lot of guts to shoot those rounds three straight days. I am really happy for her.
“Grace had a pretty special day in round two shooting the 65. She’s impressive the way she can get under par, stay there and keep going. She has been hitting it well the last couple of weeks, and her putter just wasn’t hot yet. It got hot. She capitalized on her opportunities, and she didn’t miss very many of those with a wedge in her hand.
“This week was a really great opportunity for us to come in and capitalize on our play in Yale,” said Peters. “We all came in wanting to win, and we definitely set ourselves up for it. After Yale, I came back and worked hard on getting the ball moving right to left again for me, which was key this week. I had a lot more control over the ball and stuck a lot more shots. After that, it was just being patient and waiting for putts to drop. And they did.”
With the 2015 fall season completed, the Wolverines enter their winter break training regime. U-M returns to competition in February of 2016, when U-M travels to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, to play in Purdue’s annual spring event — the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, Sunday through Tuesday, Feb. 14-16. The three-day, 54-hole event will be played on the River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club and will mark the ninth straight season the Wolverines open their spring at the Boilermakers event.
“This was a great way to wrap up our fall,” added Choi. “We are all hungry for more, and we are ready to work hard in the winter. We’ve grown so much as a team from last year and took away a lot of positives from this event and from the fall as a whole. We all have things to work on, and we are excited to improve.”