Cardinals can't overcome slow start in finishing seventh at MIAC
COON RAPIDS, Minn. Shawn Stimmel had high hopes for his Saint Mary's University women's golf team as the Cardinals headed into the season-ending Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships.
After all, the Cardinals had enjoyed a stellar fall season, a season that included posting three of the school's best four 18-hole team scores including a school-record 346 at the Wartburg Invitational not to mention a school-record 36-hole 709 at the UW-Eau Claire Invitational.
The Cardinals were primed to equal if not surpass last year's fourth-place conference finish.
Only one thing stood in the Cardinals' way Bunker Hills Golf Course.
Unfortunately for SMU, for three days, the course got the best of the Cardinals.
SMU managed just four rounds in the 80s two each by Katie O'Connor (Orland Park, Ill.) and Katelyn Rizzi (Austin, Minn.) as the Cardinals struggled to a seventh-place finish, posting a three-day total of 1092.
"It's a little disappointing, because everyone felt confident about where their games were at heading into the weekend," said Stimmel. "The course was definitely much tougher than we expected and we just weren't able to overcome that."
The Cardinals struggled to an opening-round 376 total and never recovered, putting together a 352 Day 2 score, and a final-round 360.
"That first round really hurt us," admitted Stimmel. "We just weren't able to recover."
O'Connor led the way for SMU posting rounds of 90-85-87262, while Rizzi was six shots back following a 94-87-87268 effort. Caty Beel (Tucson, Ariz. / 98-90-95283) and Angie Christiansen (West Salem, Wis. / 97-95-91283) and Val Meschke (Pine River, Minn. / 95-94-97286) rounded out SMU's top five.
"All-in-all, it was a good season," concluded Stimmel. "We had some very good performances, as was evident by all the school records we broke, but we also had some not-so-good days, too. I'm happy with the way the ladies performed, and hopefully, we can pick right up where we left off next season."