Alix Larson, Lee Reinke

Alix Larson, left, lines up a shot with UW-Green Bay coach Lee Reinke at the 2019 Mostodon Fall Invite in Fort Wayne, Ind.

As slow as the fall portion of her senior season started, Alix Larson was just glad to have a seat in the van going to this week's Mastodon Fall Invitational in Fort Wayne, Ind., let alone a spot at the top of the lineup for the UW-Green Bay women's golf team.

UW-Green Bay women's golf team | 2019 Mastodon Fall Invite champs

UW-Green Bay women's golf team | 2019 Mastodon Fall Invite champs

She proved to be just the right medicine for the Phoenix, too, as it tried to remedy a bout of the flu that knocked No. 1 golfer Lori Meyer out of action.

Larson, who failed to qualify for the season-opener and was to have been an extra individual competitor in this week's event, got the call from the bullpen at the 11th hour and responded in a big way. The Oconomowoc native shot rounds of 76-77-80 to finish sixth and join teammates Ashley Kulka (fourth) and Isabelle Maleki (10th) in the top 10 as UWGB successfully defended its tournament title, only the second team win in program history.

Kulka shot a final-round 76, Larson and Maleki shot 80s and junior Katie Warpinski added an 84 as the Phoenix shot 320 after shooting 306-307 in Monday's 36-hole opener to finish with a 54-hole total of 933. Central Michigan, which had the medalist in Claudia Salvador, was second (940).

"To start the season, qualifying obviously didn’t go as planned to travel to the first tournament," Larson wrote in a text to Wisconsin.golf, acknowledging that her caddie gig this past summer at Erin Hills near Milwaukee might not have kept her as sharp as she needed to be with her own game. "That was my first time ever not traveling with the team, so it stung a little bit and I knew I had to kick it into gear and keep grinding on my game."

Larson played the No. 5 spot at the Northern Kentucky Invitational in place of Kulka, who missed all of last season with a foot injury and still needs to take the occasional break. This time, it was an illness that created an opportunity.

"Lori woke up very sick on Monday, so much so I took her out of lineup and replaced her with Alix," UWGB coach Lee Reinke wrote via text message to Wisconsin.golf. "Way to answer I would say!"

When she got the news, Larson wasn't quite sure what to say.

"When Lee told me he was moving ...  me to No. 1, my first thought was 'Shoot, Lori isn’t playing and she’s been one of our teammates that’s been pretty consistent all season,'” Larson wrote of the junior from Freedom. "But at the same time I was extremely excited and eager because I have been the Nos. 1 & 2 before so it wasn’t new to me, I was just excited to get out there and hold up my end for Lori and the rest of the team."

Mission accomplished. Larson was one of four UWGB golfers to break 80 in an opening-round 306 and then was one of three to shoot 77 behind Matschke's 76 in a second-round 307.

The Phoenix's lineup was dealt another blow Tuesday when Matschke woke up with the same ailment that sidelined Meyer. She tried to play through it, but struggled to a 90 and her score did not factor into UWGB's closing 320.

"I think we found out it’s harder to defend than win the first one," Reinke said. "(It was a) great learning experience (Tuesday) as well to 1) fight adversity off with a couple bad breaks with the wind and 2) learn how to ‘be in the lead’ and fight off nerves. This team is resilient; when someone is down they all step up and conversely they all contribute to the team score each week.

"They have each other’s back. (I'm) very proud of the team including the injured (redshirt freshman) Lauren Shorter who continues on her way back."

The Phoenix will close the fall season Monday and Tuesday at the Charles Braun Intercollegiate in Evansville, Ind. Larson can't wait to get there.

"I am beyond proud to be a part of this team and I couldn’t ask for better teammates and coaches," Larson wrote. "The team chemistry is amazing and we are always having fun. We have a very solid team, nobody really is consistently better than the rest, we all pick each other up when one has a tough round and I think that is the best part because we all are capable of competing at this level and shooting low scores.

"It is so exciting for me to see how far the team has come and I’m thankful to be able to have watched it all progress throughout the years. (It's) funny you ask because I looked to my teammate Leah (Hansen) after the first day knowing we were in the lead and I go 'Leah, this is crazy because I remember our team used to look at the winning teams when they were walking past and they were intimidating.' And now I notice teams are looking at us when we are walking past.”


Team/Player Leaderboard
Pine Valley Country Club - 2019 Mastodon Fall Invite Par: 71 Yardage: 5980
Fort Wayne, IN US
Oct 14-15, 2019
Pos. Team/Player (seed) Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total
1 Green Bay 306 307 320 933
T4 Ashley Kulka (2) 74 82 76 232
6 Alix Larson (1) 76 77 80 233
10 Isabelle Maleki (5) 79 77 80 236
T12 Katie Warpinski (4) 77 77 84 238
T26 Courtney Matschke (3) 80 76 90 246
2 Central Michigan University 313 312 315 940
1 Claudia Salvador (2) 74 76 71 221
T8 Meghan Deardorff (1) 75 79 81 235
T23 Padgett Chitty (3) 79 81 84 244
T23 Zoe Varytan (4) 89 76 79 244
T37 Rachel Leucuta (5) 85 84 89 258
3 Indiana State 319 314 308 941
3 Lauren Green (2) 80 77 72 229
T4 Sierra Hargens (1) 77 79 76 232
T12 Alex Jennings (5) 80 77 81 238
T21 Kayla Ryan (3) 82 81 80 243
25 Kristen Hobbs (4) 82 83 80 245
4 Taylor University 321 327 307 955
2 Nicole Jung (2) 80 73 75 228
18 Annie Stimmel (4) 81 82 78 241
T19 Maddie Thomas (1) 78 85 79 242
T26 Taylor French (3) 82 89 75 246
T40 Rachel Coers (5) 94 87 91 272
5 Purdue Fort Wayne 323 312 321 956
11 Kennedy Brooker (4) 80 80 77 237
T14 Linnzie Richner (2) 78 73 88 239
T14 Emma Schroeder (3) 83 79 77 239
T30 Holly Anderson (1) 82 80 87 249
T33 Sarah Lewis (5) 83 87 80 250
6 Bowling Green State 321 319 325 965
7 Jessica Madry (1) 78 76 80 234
T16 Kayla Davis (2) 80 81 79 240
T16 Nichole Cox (3) 78 81 81 240
36 Kelsey Sager (4) 85 85 85 255
45 Danielle Austinson (5) 96 81 0 177
7 Oakland 320 329 330 979
T8 Kay Zubkus (1) 79 79 77 235
T21 Amalia Shahzan (2) 76 81 86 243
T30 Sydney Martens (5) 82 80 87 249
T37 Mariella Simoncini (3) 87 91 80 258
39 Karsen Johnston (4) 83 89 89 261
 
Individuals
Pos. Player (Team) Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total
T19 Chelsea Marrow (Indiana State) 81 81 80 242
T26 Alyson Kovach (Bowling Green State) 79 86 81 246
29 Erin Korn (Bowling Green State) 88 77 83 248
T30 Emily Fleming (Oakland) 82 84 83 249
T33 Madison Branum (Indiana State) 84 82 84 250
35 Leah Hansen (Green Bay) 84 88 82 254
T40 Keilani Doss (Oakland) 88 91 93 272
T40 Amanda Maletich (Bowling Green State) 91 87 94 272
43 Luiza Helena de Araujo Caetano (Purdue Fort Wayne ) 103 87 83 273
44 Julia Bice (Central Michigan University) 97 94 95 286

More from this Section