Valparaiso’s women’s golf team started off the season on Monday with a record-setting performance on day one of the Green Bay Invitational held in Green Bay, Wis. The Crusaders shot 324 for the first 18 holes of the 36-hole tournament, 50 shots better than any team round last season. Individually, freshman Michelle Kleckner (New Brighton, Minn./Irondale H.S.) leads the way after shooting four-over par 77.
“I am really pleased with our first day of the season,” head coach Mike Higdon said. “We posted the best round in program history but we know that we still have some work to do.”
Kleckner posted a pair of birdies on her way to her school record-setting round on the 5,863-yard, par 73 layout at Green Bay Country Club. Her 77 was 10 shots better than the previous school record. Playing in her first collegiate tournament, Kleckner carded nines of 42 and 35.
Annie Nolan (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) is tied for second overall, one shot behind Kleckner, after shooting 78 (37-41). Nolan, the only sophomore playing with four freshmen for the Crusaders, bettered her collegiate best by nine shots.
“I am so proud of Michelle and Annie,” Higdon added. “They played steady all day.”
Erika Pfaender (Pewaukee, Wis./Arrowhead H.S.) added an 83 (43-40) and is tied for 12th in her collegiate debut while Brianna Davy (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) carded an 86 to round out the scoring. Kelly Voigt (Palatine, Ill./Fremd H.S.) shot 88 for her first college event.
The Crusaders as a team were just three shots behind Loyola (Chicago), who leads the way at 321. Valpo has a seven shot advantage over third place North Dakota and a nine shot lead over host Green Bay.
“For four freshmen playing in their first collegiate tournament they seemed to put added pressure on themselves,” Higdon concluded. “Tomorrow we hope to just relax and come out to play.”
Valparaiso will return to the links on Tuesday morning for the final round of play, beginning at 8:30 a.m.