Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MESA, Ariz. – Natalie Johnson shot a 4-over par 76 Sunday to lead the Central Michigan women’s golf team to a 323 team score in the final round of the Clover Cup at Longbow Golf Club.
Johnson, who shot 83 in Friday’s opening round and followed with an 82 in Saturday’s second round, finished the 54-hole event with a 241 total. She placed a CMU-best 76th in the 85-player field.
CMU finished with a 968 total to place 17th in the 17-team field. SMU won the event with 858, eight shots ahead of second-place TCU.
Also for CMU on Sunday, Kristen Wolfe and Bria Colosky both shot 82, Chloe Guschewski posted an 83, and Holly Hines finished at 88.
Guschewski finished the tournament with a 242 total, Colosky at 246, Wolfe at 251, and Hines at 256.
Johnson, a sophomore, overcame a slow start to post a career-low 76.
Starting on the 16th hole under the shotgun start format, she was 3-over through her first three holes. She then made three consecutive birdies to start the front nine and added another birdie on No. 7. She turned at 1-under and finished the day with four of CMU’s eight birdies.
“Natalie played really well,” CMU coach Cheryl Stacy said. “She had two bad holes, she had two double bogeys. She was hitting her irons really close and she was making putts.
“Just a couple mishaps on the doubles. I think she was really happy with her round other than two holes.”
Stacy the Chippewas struggled, collectively, on the par 5s.
“We didn’t play the par 5s well,” she said. “We were 10-over on the first two par 5s as a team. It was kind of disappointing becuase that’s a big chunk of the score.”
Still, overall, the tournament served the Chippewas well in that they got in several rounds, both practice and competitive, in ideal weather conditions.
“I think they gained some great experience against a very good field,” Stacy said. “We’ll take the positives from it and continue to grow on that.
“It’s them getting used to playing a lot of golf and improving their stamina. It seemed like they were a little tired toward the end. We’ve got to get used to that, a 54-hole event, and playing golf all week long.”
The Chippewas opened on Friday with a 332 team score, then improved by 19 shots to 313 in Saturday’s second round.
Brooke Graebe of TCU closed with a 1-under 71 to finish with a 6-under 210 to claim medalist honors.
CMU will partake in the Morehead State Spring Citrus Challenge in Sorrento, Fla., March 20-22.