HOUSTON — By the end of the day Wednesday, the UW-Whitewater women's golf team set itself up perfectly to start Thursday in position to fire the first salvo in the third round of the NCAA Division III Championship.
The Warhawks maintained their hold on 13th place in the 25-team field at Bay Oaks Country Club, improving four shots with a second-round 324 and reaching the halfway point of the 72-hole event at 652. That is 39 strokes behind first-place New York University (311-302), but just 15 shots behind 12th-place Rhodes, both of which will be among the 12 teams who will have to wait until the Thursday afternoon wave to get its third round underway.
With late-morning tee times, Whitewater hopes to find the magic that has helped the Warhawks win back-to-back Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion.
Once again Wednesday, they weren't able to finish what they started. Former Milton athletes CheyAnn Knudsen (78) and Maddie McCue (79) both broke 80 for coach Andrea Wieland (their former high school coach), but Whitewater — 16-over par through its first 12 holes — played its final six holes in 20-over and lost out on an opportunity to threaten the top 10.
Juniors Kelly Storti (82) and Ashley Hofmeister (85) rounded out the scoring for the Warhawks, who threw out an 86 from senior Kaitlin Bowe. Wieland said the team is still getting used to the steady diet of high temperatures in upper-80s.
"Our finish to our round wasn't great again," Wieland wrote in a text to Wisconsin.golf. "We will do a better job of staying hydrated and eating more substance on the course. Ashley had a horrible stomach ache on the first tee today. Tums and Rolaids were her favorite thing today! She just wasn’t herself, but feels better now so hopefully she will come back (Thursday).
"(We) still need to make more putts. And more birdies!"
Lakewood's Maggie Warrner, a sophomore at Illinois Wesleyan, climbed 11 spots on the leaderboard with a second-round 79. IWU is 15th in the team standings heading into the third round, after which the 25-team field will be reduced to the top 15 teams for Friday's final round.
One day after firing an opening round 77, Verona's Emily Opsal and slipped into a tie for 60th place for Central (Iowa), which is in 19th place. Mukwonago's Hannah Schulz shot her second straight 88 and is tied for 100th place for Aurora (Ill.), which is in 23rd place.