The K-State women’s golf team might not have fin- ished high in the final stand- ings of its first spring tourna- ment, but the Wildcats still managed to save their best for last.
K-State finished 14th at the inaugural Sir Pizza Cards Challenge on Tues- day in Weston, Fla. The team finished with a three-round total of 965, but put together its strongest round on the final day of competition with a 28-over-par 316.
“You definitely want to shoot your low round of the tournament in the final round,” said head coach Kristi Knight. “That’s always a nice thing to do. That’s part of moving forward.” The strong finish wasn’t enough, however, as K-State stood alone in 14th place after the first day and remained there for the duration of the competition.
The Wildcats finished 63 strokes behind tournament champions Texas State, which they also faced during the fall portion of the season.
“Honestly, this was not a good tournament for us,” Knight said. “People said it was our first time out, but it’s the first time out for a lot of people. The good news is it’s early and we’ve got lots of opportunities ahead of us. We need to take from this event work on putting the whole thing together.”
Other teams of note included Big 12 Conference opponent Kansas, which finished fifth at 913, and Florida International, which ranks No. 40 in the current Golfweek Magazine polls. The Cougars fell just four strokes short of a title and finished second with a final score of 906. No. 43 Louisville also participated in the tournament and finished fourth at 909.
Top individual honors went to South Florida’s Shena Yang, who tied with East Tennessee State’s Nina Muehl at 4-under-par 212, but won the title in a playoff.
K-State was paced by junior Paige Osterloo at the three-day tournament, which was played at the Weston Hills Golf Course. Osterloo, a native of Rapid City, S.D., finished tied for 27th place with a 15-over- par 231. Her best round came on the first day when she carded a 3-over-par 75 – the best individual round by any Wildcat at the meet. She finished the competition dead even with Louisville’s Laura Anderson and North Carolina State’s Maureen Dunnagan, as well as Christina Hirano and Patricia Arana, both of Miami.
Other scores for the Wildcats included freshman Gianna Misenhelter, who tied for 50th with a 24-over- par 240, sophomore Hannah Roos, who finished 56th at 26-over-par 242 and senior Emily Houtz, who ended at 75th with a 40-over-par 256. Bringing up the rear for K-State was redshirt-soph- omore Laura Hildebrandt, who tied for 76th with a 46-over-par 262.
“There were some good individual rounds in there,” Knight said. “If you break things down and look at it in pieces, there were some good pieces to the puzzle. It’s just a matter of putting the puzzle together. In college golf, you need four scores every day to be competing at the top of the leader board. That’s what we were lacking in this event.”
K-State has a few days off before its next competition. The Wildcats will return to action when they head to Fresno, Calif., for the Fresno State Lexus Classic. The two-day event is set to start on March 7 at the Copper River Country Club. K- State is the only Midwestern school set to compete, as the tournament field is mainly comprised of teams located along the west coast.