Women’s golf dominates competition at Millikin Fall Classic

Tyler Friedman | Contributing Reporter

Sarah Miesle | Saint Mary’s College

Junior Olivia Lugar watches tee her shot sail down the fairway during the second round at the O’Brien National Invitational in South Bend, Ind. on Sept. 16. At the weekend’s Millikin University Fall Classic, Lugar shot a 149 (76-73) to win the tournament by five strokes over freshman teammate Xin Fang.

The Washington University women’s golf team finished 50 strokes better than top competitor Illinois Wesleyan University Saturday and Sunday at the Millikin University Fall Classic in Decatur, Ill. The Bears scored 621, with all five of their starters finishing in the top eight.

Junior Olivia Lugar posted the top score with a 149. Lugar finished Sunday with a season low of 73, also the best score in the tournament.

“Today, my short game was very, very good,” Lugar said. “I did not hit a lot of greens, but except for one hole, I got up and down every time. It was a really good day for the short game,” Lugar said.

The co-captain shot a 76 on Saturday, helping the Bears take a big lead after the first day.

Freshman Xin Fang continued her strong start to the season, posting a career-best 154 and finishing second overall at the tournament. After finishing 14th out of 62 at the US Women’s Amateur Qualifier in Oakland, Calif., she has quickly made her way into the Bears’ starting five.

Senior co-captain Andi Hibbert shot a 159, which is her best of the season as well. Meanwhile, freshman Samantha Han finished one stroke behind in fifth overall with a 160.

Sophomore Connie Zhou, who last year was ranked the second best freshman in Division III, finished in eighth place after shooting a 162. Her game on Sunday was shaky at first, but then she got a par on the majority of the rest of the holes.

“My ball striking was good today; my irons were the most reliable out of anything,” Zhou said.

The Bears played at two different courses during the weekend, starting on Saturday at the Scovill Golf Course. There were plenty of tricky holes at Scovill, and the course was fairly wet, Zhou said. Sunday’s round two took place at the Red Tail Run Golf Club, which is a wide open and short course, according to Lugar. Zhou commented that the course was in great condition and that the weather was ideal.

Though the Bears dominated the competition this weekend and are ranked first in the Central Region and fourth in Division III, Zhou does not want the team to be distracted by those numbers.

“I think it is important to not get caught up with what place we’re in or how we compare to the other teams,” she said. “We can’t let ourselves be intimidated or be too comfortable.”

Both Zhou and Lugar identified areas for personal improvement. Lugar is hoping to work on her short game.

“I’m going to have to work on being more confident standing in the fairway and hitting it to the green,” she said.

Meanwhile, Zhou is focusing on the mental aspect of competition.

“It is so easy for one shot to dictate the whole round, so it’s really important to stay committed to each shot,” she said.