Ball State Women’s Golf travelled to Arizona and took fifth place in the annual Rio Verde Invitational this past weekend.
This marked the first time this season the Cardinals were able to play the Mid-American Conference. The only MAC teams Ball State couldn’t top were Northern Illinois and Akron.
“This tournament is a great way to see where we stand compared to our conference counterparts,” head coach Katherine Mowat said. “The conference tournament is still two months away, but we will be influenced and motivated by this event as we work to improve for our conference tournament.”
Of the 18 teams in the field, eight MAC teams hit the links this past weekend. Ball State finished third in terms of MAC play. A couple of key upperclassmen propelled the Cardinals into a top placement.
Leading the pack on the final day was Junior Liz Kim. She finished seven-over-par and tied for ninth individually. Kim’s 72 in the second round proved to be the turning point for her.
“I think I was pretty consistent,” Kim said. “It was pretty tough without knowing what was going to happen on Saturday, but I think that I just stuck to one shot at a time.”
Although this is only the second tournament of the spring, Kim has stepped up in both instances and delivered quality rounds. Despite ending the first round tied for 31st place, Kim jumped 22 spots into the top 10 on championship Sunday.
“Liz has been playing solid and confident golf and it’s been fun to watch,” Mowat said. “She is getting more comfortable being in contention and finishing out great rounds.”
Senior Manon Tounalom followed Kim by finishing in a tie for 18th, only two strokes back from her teammate.
Ball State teed off on Friday and scored a 305. A ton of rain made the course unplayable on Saturday, so the remaining 36 holes had to take place on championship Sunday.
“Honestly, the course looked pretty good today,” Kim said. “The first nine holes, it was really wet, bu the conditions were great after that.”
The Cardinals were able to shave a few strokes off of the scoreboard in the second round as they notched a 302. This was followed by another 302 Sunday afternoon. Ball State locked itself in sixth place in a field of 18 teams.
“Overall, it was a good showing for our team,” Mowat said. “This is a big tournament for us with 17 other teams. We handled the weather delays and the adjusted format very well. They are mentally strong and always already to compete.”
Arkansas State ran away with the tournament by scoring 880. Northern Illinois finished at 892 in second place followed by Xavier with a 903.
The Cardinals will travel to Nevada on Mar. 9-10 to take part in the Jackrabbit Invitational.