Haubenstock wins as WU golf swings to top of NCAA Preview

| Senior Sports Editor

Washington University’s golf team claimed the top two spots as the Bears coasted to a win in the NCAA Division III Preview this weekend.

The Bears pulled away from the field on the second and third rounds of competition. After shooting 318 as a team on day one—the same score as second place No. 9 Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)—the Bears shot 300 and 308 on Saturday afternoon and Sunday respectively to post a three-round total of 926. They claimed victory over CMU by 11 shots. No. 17 Oglethorpe University, No. 15 Washington and Lee University and No. 3 Methodist University rounded out the top-five of the preview.

Senior Samantha Haubenstock finished first, firing a three-round total of 221. Haubenstock’s score tied for the second-best in school history. After a solid first round that put her two shots off the lead, Haubenstock started to break away from the crowd in the second round, tying for the round’s best score at par 72. According to Haubenstock, her best golf was played on Saturday.

“The first round, even though it was the highest, I felt like I had been playing pretty well,” Haubenstock said on Sunday. “The score wasn’t working out for me, but I turned it around in the afternoon, for the score at least. Yesterday definitely felt better.”

Though Haubenstock did not think her performance on Sunday was as strong as her performance on the opening day, her performance was still enough to leave her feeling confident as the competition wound to a close.

“There are a lot of good players at this tournament, especially our freshman Annie Mascot; I had no idea how anyone else was doing.” Haubenstock said. “I knew that I was doing well today. But I didn’t know if it was going to be good enough until…on the putting green I was like ‘If someone beat me, they really must have played well.’”

Mascot finished the Preview trailing Haubenstock by four shots. Mascot’s total of 225 was good for second in the competition.

The remaining three spots of Wash. U.’s starting five were filled by freshmen Emmy Sammons (17th), Alena Lindh (21st) and Emma Lee (42nd).

Competing as an individual, freshman Helen Ye finished ninth with a three-day total of 236.

The NCAA Preview is significant because it provides an opportunity for some of the best teams in the country to play on the course where the NCAA Championships will be played in the spring. The win is exciting for the Bears, but head coach Mary Swanson’s focus remains on the big picture.

“[It’s about] finding that balance between ‘we’re competitive and we won’ and also understanding we can continue to get better,” Swanson said. “Find that fine line between using that as an asset but also not remaining complacent [so] that we can go back there and win it again.”

The victory was the Bears’ third in three competitions this fall. That is a testament to the team’s commitment to working hard in the summer and the coaching staff’s commitment to building the confidence of the golfers. Those two factors in conjunction have led to consistency, a perfect complement to the Red and Green’s talent.

“We had a lot of players work hard on their game this summer,” Swanson said. “Our veterans came in and during preseason, we kind of reset where we were a year ago. We work specifically on building their confidence with what we call the personal-best. Just really focusing on that element of thing with specifically our short game: putting, chipping, wedges. I just think they really executed well from the systems we put in place. There are things that they can repeat under pressure, which is the big mental aspect. They really bought into that.”

The Bears will tee off again on Saturday in the Lindenwood-WashU Dual in Weldon Spring, Mo.

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