WOODBURY, Minnesota — Until Gabby Curtis brought her glowing scorecard into the clubhouse Tuesday Prestwick GC and raised the bar on season-opening excellence with a 4-under-par 68, the University of Wisconsin women's golf team had manufactured one of the most tightly packed collection of scores in program history.
Of the 14 scores that the Badgers had posted at the Minnesota Invitational, none was lower than 71 but none was higher than 74 among their five scoring golfers. That remarkable consistency in and around par was perhaps the biggest reason UW was able to walk away with a fifth-place showing and the lowest score in program history.
Curtis' 68, a pair of 71s from senior Becky Klongland and junior Jessica Reinecke and a 72 from senior transfer Lexi Harkins figured into UW's closing 282, which matched the second-lowest score in school history -- one shot off the mark set at the 2013 Lady Paladin Invitational. The Badgers' 36-hole total of 9-under 855 topped by four shots the school record set at the 2014 Westbrook Spring Invitational and was only 17 strokes behind tournament champion Southern Cal, the fourth-ranked team in the nation according to GolfStat.com.
"The consistency was great to see," Oehrlein wrote in a text message to Wisconsin.Golf after throwing out a 74 from No. 1 golfer Aya Johnson . "I'm not sure when we last had all five scores that close for the entire tournament. It was great to have everyone in play all weekend. They did a great job minimizing any mistakes."
Indeed, their finishes reflected it.
Curtis (71-72-68) finished tied for 10th at 5-under 211. Klongland (72-72-71) and Harkins (72-71-72) tied for 19th at 1-under 215. Johnson (72-71-74) tied for 26th at 1-over 217 and Reinecke (73-74-71) finished tied for 31st at 2-over 218.
Even redshirt freshman Bobbi Stricker, a walk-on from Waunakee making her collegiate debut, showed signs of being ready to contribute if issues arise in the top five. She shot 77-77-75 and tied for 75th.
“They really played well after the start," Oehrlein wrote. "I think we were (6-over) at one point with our counters and then finished at (6-under) 282. Pretty solid stretch. They showed a lot of composure and maturity."