The Valpo women’s golf team came to win last week, clinging to a second-place finish in the Fort Wayne Spring Classic.
The Crusaders managed to hold their spot, and in the process broke a school scoring record. In the 54-hole team tournament, the women finished three rounds with an overall score of 941, beating the previous record by six strokes.
Key contributors to the team’s success were senior Angie Kim, who shot a 77 in the third round, finished the tournament at 232, grabbing eighth place individually. Other pivotal golfers included Kylie Shoemake, Madison McCreary, Kiana Jongsma, Tiffany Curtis, Sydney Shrum and Kayla Kreuger.
The team’s first round score of 306 was the best 18-hole round the team had played since 2013, and the team finished the 54-hole tournament with the third best finish in program history. This ranked as the team’s best ever regular-season score in a 54-hole tournament. The only better scores in program history both occurred in the Horizon League Tournament in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Coach John Haas was clearly happy with the results.
“We had three really solid rounds, top to bottom,” Haas said. “It’s exciting for me with this being my first time bringing home a trophy in a college tournament. That’s pretty cool.”
Haas has only been at Valpo since December and it’s clear that what he’s doing with the team is working. Haas’ experience coaching golf at Crown Pointe High School has prepared him well for working with a program like Valpo’s.
Golfing as an individual, junior Katie Willenbrink finished out the tournament by scoring a 77 during the third round. Her final score of 229 ranks fifth in team history and surpasses her own score by one stroke. Overall, Willenbrink had many individual successes during the tournament.
“(Willenbrink’s) rounds the last three days were the highlight,” Haas said. “Coming from an individual position, after a rough week of qualifying, she put together three really good rounds. (Kim) was her usual really solid total for three days. She continues to not only play well on the course, but provides us with a lot of leadership for our younger players.”
Haas shared the encouragement that this tournament’s results have brought, both to him and his team.
“They’re really grinding through difficult holes,” Haas said. “They’re not letting the occasional bogey or double-bogey keep them back. They’ve learned to persevere when things aren’t going well...I think we need to keep progressing the way we are. I don’t think we need to make any huge changes, we just need to keep working on our weaknesses and maintaining our good attitude. I think we can be a real player at conference a couple weeks from now. The talent is there.”
The Crusaders have another chance to win when they face the course at Trophy Club for the Crusader/Jaguar Challenge in Lebanon, Ind. on April 9-10.