NIU women’s golf: Huskies finish 5th at MAC Championship

By Patrick Smith

Women’s golf placed fifth out of 10 teams at the MAC Championship to close out its season.

The conference tournament was Friday to Sunday at the Shaker Run Golf Club in Lebanon, Ohio. The Huskies finished fifth place (946) at 28 strokes behind the MAC champion Kent State Golden Flashes, who had a score of 918.

The Huskies struggled in the first round with a 320. But, they bounced back the final two rounds with a 316 and 310, respectively, and head coach Kim Kester said she’s proud of that.

“I’m absolutely proud of the girls,” Kester said. “We started off slow in the first round, but we finished strong and moved up to fifth in the tournament when we were eighth going into the final round.”

The Huskies’ two top golfers were sophomores Lena Gautier and Sydney Brickey. Gautier posted a score of 230 (81, 74, 75) and finished tied for fourth place while Brickey posted a score of 238 (75, 83, 80) and finished 20th. Gautier and Brickey finished eight 16 strokes, respectively, behind champion Josée Doyon from Kent State, who finished with a score of 222 (74, 74, 74)

Although Gautier didn’t win the tournament, she achieved a lot this weekend: She became the first NIU player to earn All-MAC accolades, being named to the All-MAC Second Team and the MAC All-Tournament Team. She finished tied for fourth, which is the highest-ever finish for an NIU player at a conference tournament event.

“I feel pretty happy,” Gautier said. “I didn’t have a great first round, but I bounced back and played well the final two rounds. So, I’m extremely happy. I look to play well at every tournament; it’s not about the accomplishments.”

Even with this season just concluding, the team is already optimistic about the campaign it can put together next year.

“Overall, for the year, we did well,” Kester said. “We had a tournament win and a runner-up finish this season. Our goal is to move up each year and we did that. We’re excited about next season.”

Gautier, who will be an upperclassmen leading the team even more next season, was satisfied with the team’s performances this year and is looking forward to accomplishing even more next season.

“I think we did alright this season,” Gautier said. “We did have bad tournaments that I thought we could have done better in, but we finished the season strong with this tournament. We’re ready for next season.”