The Spalding University women's golf team took home the inaugural St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women's Golf Championship. Playing at Aberdeen Golf Course in Eureka, Mo., a course designed after the Scottish links and style of play, the Golden Eagles battled through two windy and overcast days that truly represented the full Scottish golf experience. Spalding led the tournament field from open to finish to capture the team title but needed a playoff hole to decide the conference individual champion, a battle between two Golden Eagles.
Spalding started the tournament with a first-day score of 332, opening up a commanding 87 stroke lead as the second day's round began. With the addition of a strong wind on the second day, the Golden Eagles carded a 343 for a two-round total of 675, nearly 200 strokes better than the next closest competitor. Spalding took the first four spots on the individual leaderboard and had five of the top seven finishers.
The individual title came down between teammates Taylor Thompson and Kassidy Wallin. Thompson started out the tournament strong with three birdies in the first six holes, making the turn with a 35. Thompson would close out the first day with a tournament-leading 78, five strokes better than her teammate Beth Graham who stood in second place.
Wallin was a close third, with an 84, shooting what would be a tournament-best 38 on the back nine; six strokes lower than her front nine.
While Thompson did not get the birdies in round two that she did a day earlier she still maintained a six-shot lead with six holes to play. However, the wind started to play havoc with her tee shots and she managed just two pars to close out her round. Although Graham made a push it was Wallin among the Golden Eagles that would truly shine down the stretch.
Wallin was able to avoid mistakes as she made her way back to the clubhouse, parring five of the final six holes. She two-putt on the 18th hole to finish the round with an 81, tying Thompson with a two-day score of 165 and forcing a playoff.
The two teammates made their way to the 10th hole to determine the SLIAC individual champion. Wallin teed off first and landed on the fairway, as did Thompson with her drive. But it was the second shot gave Wallin an edge, placing her approach shot on the green. Wallin would again two-putt her way to the hole, forcing Thompson to attempt a long downslope putt with the wind blowing against her. Thompson was unable to sink the difficult putt, embracing her teammate Wallin.
Wallin was the only player to shoot below 40 on the back nine during the tournament, doing so in both rounds of the tournament.
Graham would finish in 3rd place, two strokes behind the duo while Megan Shirley shot a 178 to place 4th. All five Golden Eagles earned All-Conference honors as Faythe Turner wrapped up the scoring with a 7th place finish and a two-day score of 193.
Maddi Vandervort, from Fontbonne, took 5th place with a 180. MacMurray's top finisher was Lauren Anderson, placing 8th with a 199 while Westminster was represented by Rebecca Roth's 9th place finish with a 203. Hannah Lien led Iowa Wesleyan with a 204, finishing 11th. Eureka's top finisher was Samantha Sarnes, who placed 19th with a 266.
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