Ball State Women’s Golf harbored four top-10 individual finishes at the Battle of Boulder Creek Tuesday.
Junior Liz Kim was Ball State’s leading force in all three rounds and constantly jumped between third and first place individually. Kim and UNLV’s individual competitor Dana Puyol duked it out for the top spot throughout the two-day contest.
“To win a college golf tournament as a team or an individual is hard to do,” head coach Katherine Mowat said. “We enjoyed the moment of knowing that every stroke could potentially win or lose the tournament. We were all cheering for Liz.”
Kim ended up 14 over par in second place behind Drake’s Haeri Lee.
“I just tried to keep my head down and work,” Kim said. “Knowing when to be aggressive when I know some other players aren’t going to be … is what held me on top.”
The last time Ball State played in a tournament was in October, so the transition back to competing can be tough. Kim’s first-round score of 74, which tied for the lowest of the entire tournament, helped set the tone.
“It is always hard playing the first tournament back in the spring,” Kim said. “[The first round] gave me some confidence to know that I can be comfortable out here.”
However, Kim wasn’t alone, as three of her teammates also graced the top of the leaderboard.
“I think that we like to see as many top finishes as possible,” Mowat said. “Any one of them can lead our team at any given tournament, so to see Liz in contention for all 54 holes was really exciting.”
Senior Manon Tounalom finished in seventh place at 24 over par. Tounalom was followed by sophomores Morgan Lewis and Hadley Moritz, who finished 29 over par tied for 10th place.
As a team, Ball State seized a second-place finish despite leading the field going into the championship round. The Cardinals posted a 321 in the first round and a 310 Monday afternoon.
The battle between Drake and Ball State lasted all 54 holes and ended with the Bulldogs coming out on top. Going into the championship round Tuesday, Ball State held a one-stroke lead over Drake. However, it went off the rails in the final round, as Drake pulled ahead and held a substantial lead over Ball State with only a few holes left in the tournament.
This proved to be too much for the Cardinals to come back from that late in the round. Ball State posted a 329 in the final round, which ended up costing the Cardinals the tournament. All of this came on top of tough weather conditions the second day.
“We certainly faced some challenging conditions with the cold and the wind,” Mowat said. “I was definitely pleased with the fight through the whole tournament. It just wasn’t our day today, but it wasn’t from lack of effort.”
One benefit in taking part in the Battle at Boulder Creek is Ball State will be back in Boulder Creek next month, which is something that does not happen very often.
“It is pretty unique,” Mowat said. “We are looking at this as an incredible opportunity, and it can only benefit us a month from now.”
The Cardinals will tee off at the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational Feb. 21.
Contact Drew Pierce with comments any at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dpierce3cc.