Confidence grows as women’s golf continues to win

| Senior Sports Editor

Junior Hannah Buck competes at the NCAA Fall Preview Tournament over Labor Day Weekend. Buck finished in a tie for third place (73-78) at the Pat Clouse Invitational this past weekend.Courtesy of Ken Chee

Junior Hannah Buck competes at the NCAA Fall Preview Tournament over Labor Day Weekend. Buck finished in a tie for third place (73-78) at the Pat Clouse Invitational this past weekend.

As another week passed, another quality victory came for the No. 3 Washington University women’s golf team.

The Bears (304-306, 610) led from beginning to end at the Pat Clouse Invitational in Springfield, Ohio, as they defeated No. 2 DePauw University (316-317, 633) by 23 strokes. Rounding out the top five teams of the competition were No. 25 Wittenberg University (309-333, 642), No. 9 Allegheny College (325-321, 646) and NAIA No. 22 Walsh College (324-325, 649).

Freshman Olivia Lugar won her fourth tournament of the season with a two-day score of 147 (73-74). Lugar lowered her scoring average to 74 and her versus par average to 2.20, the best marks in Division III.

“I was striking the ball very well, and my management was pretty good. I was shooting for space on the green, but I was able to get up and down on the second day,” Lugar said.

Junior Hannah Buck (73-78) and freshman Taylor Fagan (75-76) tied for third with a score of 151. It was a career-best two-round score for Fagan.

The win marks the third time this season that the Bears have defeated DePauw in a tournament.

“I think that after seeing the rankings and having been third, I think it motivated some of us to work harder and come back and beat them,” Lugar said. “When we feel like we are better as far as the rankings, we just went out to prove why we are up there and why we’re going two be contenders.”

In six tournaments this season, the Tigers have finished first once and second five times, including three times to the Bears.

“Beating DePauw is a big deal. They are a great team, and they have been for the past few years,” Buck said. “The past two years I’ve been here, we’ve always looked at them as being [out of reach]. If we played really well we could beat them, but beating them three times shows how far we’ve come the last year. They are ranked second in the country and were a favorite to win nationals last year, so us being able to beat them definitely gives us some confidence.

With the fall season coming to a close, the victories over ranked opponents should give Wash. U. some confidence and momentum heading into the off-season.

“I hope it helps our team; our players understand that they can compete at a high level like [DePauw,] a team that we’ve been watching the last couple years,” head coach Sean Curtis said. “The fact is that they’ve all been good contests [this fall]. They’ve been close. They’ve got a veteran team that came back from an outstanding team last year. The important thing is we carry that forward and remember what that felt like later on.”

The Bears’ next tournament will be the Northern Kentucky Spring Invitational in Perry Park, Ky. The team will have almost five months between action, but as Curtis put it, the spring season is like starting over.

“Golf is pretty unique in that both seasons count equally as much towards statistical rankings and polls. Obviously, it’s great to get off to such a good start,” Curtis said. “In golf we almost have to start over when we get into the spring. Now we’ve got to do it all again come springtime. The last couple years, it’s gotten better every spring. We are learning how to just get ready faster and prepare ourselves for what’s going to happen in the spring.

“I think its going to be much of the same, and hopefully we’ll get a bid at the end of the spring and we’ll get to go back to the national championship, and all these good experiences we had in the fall and leading up to it are going to help us be ready to play that very first day. We know that we can go out there and we can compete with anybody there.”