Women’s Golf: Team depth, potential has Warhawks hungry

 

By Kevin Cunningham

After finishing last fall’s season one stroke shy of taking home the WIAC championship, the first tournament of the season this year marked a clear indicator as to whether the Warhawks’ women’s golf team could make another serious run for the WIAC crown.

The Tournament on the Border, which took place this past Friday and Saturday in Bristol, Wis., left no doubts as to whether women’s head golf coach Brett Weber had another great team to lead.

The ’Hawks took second in a tournament that featured 13 teams. After the first day of play, sophomore Sammie Leibham led the way, shooting a 37 on the front nine. Junior Sarah Bregant and freshman Kayla Asleson finished the day tied for third, both shooting a 38.

The first round only allowed the golfers to play nine holes due to lightning. More often than not, when leading the entire tournament through nine holes, the last thing a golfer wants is for the round to be called off early. In a rare case for Leibham, she was thrilled.

“I was happy with the way I played considering during the first day when we went out I suffered from heat exhaustion,” Leibham said. “When I was on the eleventh hole, I wasn’t feeling well at all, and then they blew the horn because of the rain. If we would have had to go back out and play, I would have had to withdraw from the tournament.”

Leibham finished the tournament in second place by one stroke with a 116. McKenzie Parks of Carthage won the tournament, shooting a 115. Bregant finished the tournament in third, shooting a 117, while senior Catherine Hitenbrand finished tied for eighth with a 122.

Weber was proud of the way his girls played despite all the adversity the team had to overcome.

“In the back of our minds we knew [Leibham] would have to take it easy,” Weber said. “For her to finish second after literally having a heat stroke on Friday, and then to be three over with four holes to go yesterday, she was playing really well.”

Bregant, who finished third, was excited with how she and her teammates played in their first tournament of the season.

“That was a great way to start the season, having three girls finish in the top eight,” Bregant said. “It was tough having the first round be called early because I would have liked to have seen how I would’ve finished, but you can’t change the weather.”

The next tournament for the ’Hawks comes Sept. 6 and 7 in Marshall, Mich. Leibham said she is ready for the rest of the season.

“Catherine shot her career best with an 80, and Sarah tied for her personal best,” Leibham said. “I’m really excited because this is just the beginning of what we can do.”

One of the seniors the team lost from last season was Nicole Westcott. Westcott, a former D-I transfer, was arguably one of the best golfers ever to play for the ’Hawks. Westcott won tournaments in the past and has received all-region and all-conference honors throughout her career.

Westcott enters this season as an assistant coach. Weber said the girls on the team look up to her and respond to her. Weber also talked about the overall depth with his team this season.

“This is definitely the deepest team I’ve had, and it probably has the most potential,” Weber said. “I’ve been a golf coach for 20 years, so I’ve seen a lot of talent, and we had ten girls yesterday break 90, while some schools have a hard time getting three girls to break 90. Year to year, you never know, but it really just comes down to execution.”

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