The women’s golf team finished its postseason in an unfamiliar fashion this year compared to the past three years. The Wildcats took third at the Heart of America Athletic Conference championship on Tuesday at Table Creek Golf Course in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Baker’s two-day total team score was 672.
The Wildcats had won the previous three Heart championships.
Freshman Samantha Mitchell finished fifth individually, shooting 79 the first day and 82 the second day. Mitchell was also named to the Heart All-Conference Team with fellow Baker golfer senior Lindsey Mateer, who was named Heart Player of the Year in 2015. Sophomore Bailey Gibson also finished in the top 10, tying for ninth place with a two-day score of 166.
Mitchell was in the top three after the first day and attributed her low score to her putting. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the same putting stroke on the second day.
“The first day, honestly, my putting was on fire. I had 19 putts, which really helped,” Mitchell said. “I really wanted to continue that on the second day. Unfortunately, I did not. I had 15 more putts than I did on the first day.”
William Penn University made its debut at the Heart championship since joining the conference and took first place with a total team score of 643, followed by Grand View University with a score of 664. William Penn was led by Demi Coertze, who finished second overall with a two-day score of 156. Coertze was named Heart Player of the Year. Coertze was beaten out by three strokes for first place by Culver-Stockton’s Lucy Clark.
With Baker’s third place finish, the women’s golf team will not advance to the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship in Pooler, Georgia. Mitchell feels motivated by placement on the Heart All-Conference Team and is excited to continue playing next season.
“As a freshman I can qualify for the conference team,” Mitchell said. “It’s kind of a confidence booster to know that I have three more years to improve on where I’m at now and to know this is where I can start off and it’s kind of exciting to see where I could possibly finish my four years at Baker.”
The men’s golf team will have its chance at the Heart championship May 8-10 at Swope Park Memorial Golf Course in Kansas City, Missouri. The Wildcats look to improve from their fifth place finish in the previous year.