Women’s golf team places fourth

Story by Lauren Shufelberger

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Kicking off its spring season, the Baker women’s golf team snagged a fourth place finish out of 12 teams Tuesday in the William Woods University Invitational. ‘

The team barely missed third place, losing to Trevecca Nazarene University by one stroke.

Head coach Karen Exon said she is very pleased with the start of the spring season, as she has a few women returning after not playing at all in the fall.

Junior Amelia Harshfield studied abroad last semester, and freshman Stacy Yowell was out due to a hip injury.

“I was really pleased with how they played,” Exon said. “Everybody dropped a shot here and there, but all in all they managed the course and the conditions pretty well.”

Sophomore Krista Yaktine led the team with scores of 88 and 84 on the par-72 course, placing 12th individually.

Exon said she was very happy to see all five players place in the top 50 percent of the field.

“All five players were under 100 (strokes) both days,” she said. “That’s kind of a benchmark for women’s golf at small schools.”

Right behind Yaktine was lone senior Melissa Brown who tied for 13th. Brown was 1 stroke behind Yaktine, with a combined two-day score of 173.

Yowell, who played her first college tournament, said nerves were an issue with all the players. 

“I went as a coach’s assistant last fall, so I kind of knew what I was getting into,” she said. “Being on the competitive side, there was a lot of great competition. The weather threw us off a little bit the second day.”

After a sunny first round, the team encountered 50 mph wind gusts during the second, Exon said.

Harshfield, who played her first tournament this year, said the team learned where its going to need to make improvements to make it to the national tournament.

“I was a little rusty,” she said. “I did some stupid things I probably wouldn’t have done had I been here during the fall.”

If the tournament is any indication of how the team will do against the conference, it doesn’t have much to worry about, Exon said.

The first conference team anywhere near Baker was Evangel University in seventh place and an additional 53 strokes.

Although the golf programs do not release preseason conference rankings, Exon said if the national rankings are any indication, Baker would have been chosen second behind William Jewell College.

"There is a big separation between the second and third place teams, but not much between the first and second," she said.<br/>