The Utah Valley University women's golf team finished just two shots back to earn second-place honors at the season-opening Hobble Creek Fall Classic on Monday and Tuesday at Hobble Creek Golf Course in Springville with a three-round school record tally of 27-over par (879).
In all, the Wolverines recorded scores of 296, 291 and 292 en route to earning the runner-up finish. Not only was it a 54-hole school record but also a 36-hole school record after carding a two-round tally of 19-over-par 587 on Tuesday. With the 879, UVU finished just two shots back of Tulsa, which claimed 2018 Hobble Creek Fall Classic tournament honors with a 25-over 877 (295-292-290).
"I am very excited that we are making a full team effort; right from the top of the roster all of the way down. The players are competing better and with more confidence and maturity than ever before as a whole group. It takes four good scores in every round to play well, and that's exactly what we had," head UVU coach Dr. Sue Nyhus said. "This finish is a good indicator of just how deep our roster is this season."
Seniors Carly Dehlin Hirsch and Ana Raga led the way at the season-opening event by earning top-10 finishes for the Wolverines. After entering Tuesday's final round in ninth place, Dehlin Hirsch carded a final-round 1-under-par 70 to tie for fourth at the tournament with a three-round total of 3-over-par 216. The newly married senior previously carded scores of 75 and even-par 71 on Monday. Dehlin Hirsch's 216 also ties for second in the UVU record books as the second-best 54-hole score in program history.
Raga too shined for the Wolverines at the tournament by finishing in eighth place with a 5-over-par 218. The two-time first-team All-WAC performer posted scores of 70, 73 and 75 on her way to finishing the event in eighth place.
Junior Kaylee Shimizu also had a strong tournament for UVU by earning a share of 13th place with a 10-over-par 223. After carding a 76 and 73 on Monday, Shimizu capped her opening season event with a 3-over 74 on Tuesday to finish in 13th place.
True freshman Nathalie Irlbacher was next for Utah Valley by tying for 37th place in her inaugural collegiate tournament with a 16-over-par 229 (75-81-73). The freshman saved her best round for last by carding a 2-over-par 73 on Tuesday. Sophomore Keila Baladad rounded out UVU's team competitors by tying for 47th with a 19-over 232 (80-74-78).
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane won the tournament by finishing two strokes ahead of UVU with a 25-over-par 877 (295-292-290). Behind Utah Valley's second-place finish, Sam Houston State took third with a 38-over 890 (298-291-301), in-state foe Southern Utah was fourth with a 39-over 891 (301-293-297) and Northern Arizona (293-292-308—893) and Boise State (304-295-294—893) tied for fifth at 41-over par. The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine came in seventh (300-301-295—896), Northern Colorado in eighth (305-297-299—901), Incarnate Word in ninth (296-311-301—908), WAC foe UT Rio Grande Valley in 10th (303-310-305—918), CSUN in 11th (313-298-311—922) and North Dakota rounded out the field with a 12th-place finish (317-305-301—923).
After carding what's believed to be a single-round Hobble Creek Classic tournament record with an 8-under-par 63 on Monday, SUU's Pluem Yongyuan won individual medalist honors with a 3-under-par 210 (76-63-71).
A trio of Wolverines also competed at the opening-season event as individuals, and sophomore Bailey Henley fronted the group by tying for 43rd with a 231 (81-73-77). Junior Isabella Lesa was next by placing 51st with a 234 (78-78-78), while sophomore Dallas Christoffersen finished in 71st with a 248 (80-80-88).
The Wolverines are off for nearly a month and will return to action on Oct. 8-10, when they'll head to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to take part in the NM State Aggie Invitational.
"We're looking forward to getting a little rest right now. We're going to take it easy for a bit and then focus on our conditioning, as well as wedge work, to get ready for our next competition," Nyhus added. "We're looking forward to a strong fall season."