The Utah Valley University women's golf team opened the season with a bang on Friday by earning a share of the tournament title at the 18-hole Wildcat Invitational. As a team, the Wolverines' also set a school record for their lowest team score with a 292, while sophomore Kimberly Nyhus earned individual medalist honors with an even-par 71.
"It was a great steady day with a lot of solid golf played by our entire team. Every player that participated for us today shot in the 70s, which showed a lot of composure and maturity," head coach Sue Nyhus said. "It was also lowest score that the women's golf team has ever posted here at UVU and we're really excited about it."
The Wolverines earned a share of the team title by tying the host Weber State Wildcats atop the standings. UVU and WSU carded scores of 292 to win the tournament. The victory marks Utah Valley's third tournament win at the Division I level as it previously earned a share of the title at the Bobcat Invitational two year's ago and its first outright tournament victory at last year's Wildcat Invite.
The 292 (8-over-par) the Wolverines' recorded Friday bested the previous school record of 296 by four strokes.
"We're excited to have started off the season with such a great team score," Nyhus said. "We're hoping that this will help everyone's confidence a little bit and that we can keep improving off of this throughout the fall."
The sophomore Nyhus led the way for UVU by recording her first collegiate victory. Nyhus shot under par all afternoon before hitting a tree on 17 and double-bogeying the hole. The Orem, Utah, native responded, however, by paring 18 to seal the victory.
"Kim qualified in the fifth spot for us for the tournament and came through with a very mature round," coach Nyhus said. "She was under par virtually all day long and responded in a big way after losing a ball in the trees on 17 by nearly birdieing 18. It was just a solid even-par round, which was great coming from somebody who wasn't even in the lineup for most of last year. It shows the kind of depth that we have and how we will have multiple people step up for us throughout the season."
Behind Nyhus' 71, senior Hannah Herman tied for fourth with a 2-over 73. Fellow senior Heather Mathison and junior Cassandra Lesa were next by tying for sixth at 3-over-par (74). Junior Kalea Heu, who played the tournament as an individual, placed 17th with a 78 (+7), while sophomore Monica Yeates rounded out the field for the Wolverines by tying for 18th with a 79 (+8).
In all, five teams took part in Friday's Wildcat Invite. Behind UVU and WSU's share of first, Southern placed third with a 299, while Westminster took fourth (333) and Idaho State came in fifth (340).
The 2014 Wildcat Invitational was contested at the Davis Park Golf Course in Kaysville, Utah.
UVU will now prepare to host the Hobble Creek Fall Classic on Sept. 8-9, at Hobble Creek Golf Course in Springville. The tournament will mark the Wolverines' lone home outing of the season.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.