KAYSVILLE — The Utah Valley University women's golf team picked up its first outright win in program history Friday, outlasting host Weber State at the Wildcat Invitational at Davis Park Golf Course.
Utah Valley notched its first top finish at the Bobcat Invitational on Sept. 4, 2012, but became runners-up after falling in a playoff to tournament-winner Montana.
"It was a very exciting day for us as a program," fourth-year head coach Sue Nyhus said. "We started off so strong on the first tee, each one just pounding it right down the middle. I knew it was going to be a good day for us. Most of our team played very well over the summer and I knew that we had improved quite a bit. I just didn't realize how much."
Leading the way for UVU was junior Brooke Whittaker, whose 2-under 70 was good enough for the outright win in the season's opening tournament. It was the first time a Wolverine has taken top medalist honors at a tournament since Lynn-Marie Nagel accomplished the feat at the 2012 Great West Conference Championship.
"To have a first-time individual winner is so big for our program," Nyhus said. "I'm so proud of Brooke and so happy for her success. She has been doing great things for us, and I know she's going to have a great year."
With a team total of 296, UVU bested WSU — playing on its home course — by two strokes. SUU finished in third with a 305, and Idaho State finished fourth at 326.
Each of the five Wolverine golfers carded a score between 70 and 77 on their way to the win. Junior Heather Mathison followed Whittaker with a 1-over 73, finishing fourth overall. Sophomore Kalea Heu tied for eighth after firing a 76, while sophomore Cassandra Lesa and junior Hannah Herman each posted a 77 to finish in a tie for 12th and round out the Wolverines' team score.
Playing as individuals and separate from the overall team score were freshmen Kimberly Nyhus and Monica Yeates, as well as junior Nagel. Finishing in a tie for fifth, Nyhus fired a 74 while Yeates posted a 75 to grab seventh place. Both were participating in their first collegiate tournament. Nagel finished the day with a 78, good for 16th place overall.
"Our two freshmen shot 74 and 75 today, both solid scores," Nyhus said. "I think that is just a great sign for the future of our program. We just had a complete day as a team today and I couldn't be happier."
Utah Valley will seek similar success at its next tournament — the Hobble Creek Invitational played in Springville, Utah, on Sept. 9-10. UVU is a joint host of that tournament alongside BYU, welcoming a field of 14 schools that includes every in-state, DI women's golf team.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.