Women’s golf set to open spring season in Florida

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It has been nearly eight months since the K-State women’s golf team took to the course, but countdown to the Wildcats’ spring season is down to just two days.

K-State has set its sights to Weston, Fla. for the inaugural Sir Pizza Cards Challenge. The three-day, 14-team tournament begins on Sunday and will take place at the West Hills Country Club.

“They seem ready to go and excited,” head coach Kristi Knight said. “Luckily, we’ve been able to get outside a little bit. They did a good job practicing when we were relegated to the indoor, but we were excited a week ago to get out on the course and play. They’re ready to get after it.”

K-State will see a handful of familiar opponents at the meet, as the tournament field includes Big 12 Conference rival Kansas, Texas State and Florida International. K-State faced off against the Bobcats and Panthers in the Chip-N-Club Invitational during the fall portion of the season. Other participating teams include tournament host Louisville, North Carolina State, Cincinnati and Miami.

“I think it’s a very interesting field,” Knight said of the competition. “It’s a very good combination of teams. It will be a good challenge. The key is to come up against as many teams as you can and beat as many as you can. We’ll have some familiar faces, but also some new teams to face out there.”

As they begin the spring campaign, the Wildcats are led by a pair of seniors in Emily Houtz and Elise Houtz. The twin sisters from Manhattan represent the only two seniors on the K-State roster. Emily participated in four tournaments during the fall season, posting a stroke average of 80.81. Elise only saw time in one event and owns an average of 82.33 strokes.

The Wildcats’ statistical leaders are freshman Gianna Misenhelter and junior Paige Osterloo. Misenhelter averaged 76.14 strokes in all five of K-State’s fall matches, while Osterloo wasn’t far behind with a 76.5-stroke average.

While Knight admitted that she’s not sure how the team will perform, especially since they’re playing on an unfamiliar course, she said all she can ask for is her team’s best effort in its first spring competition.

“Even though it’s our first time out, the things we can control are the attitudes we take on the course and our preparation,” she said. “Those are the main things that I expect. We’ll see what happens as far as with scores and how the course plays. We’ll bring our best every day and see where that puts us.”

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