By Samantha Meyer
After a Horizon League Championship last season, the women’s golf team kicked off their season in hopes of ending the year with another league title.
The Vikings began their road to the Horizon League Championship on Feb. 5 and 6 at the Motor City Cup at the Orange County National in Orlando, Florida.
The tournament was a match play event and included Horizon League members Detroit Mercy and Oakland.
In a match play event, each golfer is paired up with an opponent, and they compete against each other. Senior Emily Turski notes that this game style is more competitive because you are directly competing against your opponent.
After the first day in Orlando, the Vikings had the lead with 16 points, leading Oakland University by one point and the University of Detroit Mercy by 11 points.
Cleveland State played well in the second day in Orlando. However, Oakland won the tournament by a narrow margin. They defeated Cleveland State by one point, while Detroit Mercy finished third.
“Oakland is probably our biggest competition in the league right now,” Turski said. “They definitely came to play.”
After the disappointing loss, the Vikings rallied together for the Grand Canyon Invitational on Feb. 24 and 25 at the par-71 Grand Canyon University Golf Course in Phoenix, Arizona.
Cleveland State faced some tough competition in the tournament and had to face Oakland for the second time this season.
“Getting out on the grass for the first time, it takes a little time to get back into the groove of things, but I think we took a lot of positives out of it,” Turski said. “There were a lot of teams there, a lot of good competition, and we definitely honed in on what we need to work on more, individually and as a team.”
At the Grand Canyon Invitational, the teams played 36 holes on the first day of the tournament and 18 the next day, for a total of 54 holes.
Cleveland State started off the invitational in 14th place overall, and their top performances of the day came from senior Sophie Kelner and freshman Ashley Knight.
After day two, senior Emily Turski was the top performer on the team as she tied for 47th place with a total score of 235. She shot a final round score of 74, and Cleveland State was able to move up one spot and finish the tournament tied for 13th place.
While the team wasn’t thrilled with their overall performance, Turski said they left the tournament better than when they got there, regardless of what scores were officially posted.
As the season continues, the Vikings are preparing for the Babs Steffens Hatter Collegiate, which takes place March 24 through 26, in DeLand, Florida. The team hopes to keep improving in preparation for the Horizon League tournament in April.
“Going into the [Horizon League] tournament, we’re definitely viewed as the underdogs with the loss of our previous coach at the start of the semester. Other teams think that we will be coming into this tournament unprepared,” Turski said. “I think the only way we can show them we’re not is by performance. We definitely have a lot of talent in our lineup, and obviously, there’s a lot of work to do from now until the end of April, but we should have all the talent we need to perform.”