Women’s golf lands 4th-place finish

By Steve Shonder

Despite setting a pair of NIU records, women’s golf wasn’t able to finish strong Sunday.

The Huskies finished in fourth at the MAC Championships Sunday in Fishers, Ind. Kent State won the match, earning its 16th-straight MAC Championship.

NIU put up a final card of 945 (314, 300, 331), which put it 81 strokes over par. The final score was the Huskies’ best total at the MAC Championships.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet day, finishing fourth,” said head coach Kim Kester, according to a news release. “Overall it was a good tournament for us. We threw some shots away out there today.”

Freshman Lena Gautier led NIU individually, carding 229 (76, 74, 79). She was tied for sixth with four other golfers, making her the only Huskie to place in the top 20. Gautier was the only NIU golfer to finish with scores in the 70s in every round.

Sophomore Connie Ellett had the second-best individual card for NIU. She finished with 240 (81, 78, 81), which placed her tied for 22nd.

Heading into the third round, the Huskies were in third and had the second-best round score, 300. Their score was one stroke behind eventual champion Kent State.

“Through nine holes, as a team, we were close to two under par,” Kester said, according to a news release. “It was fun out there [Saturday] just to see everyone get their momentum going at the same time. It was a good day for sure.”

The second round put up by the Huskies was the best round score at the MAC Championships in team history. It topped their previous best of 306, which was set in 2006. The record-setting score came thanks to all five golfers scoring in the 70s. This was the first time five golfers scored in the 70s since 1991.

Jenny Niemiec, the team’s only senior, also set a record, shooting 72 in the second round. It was the best performance at the MAC Championships by an NIU golfer since 2006.

“Jenny was hitting the ball great and making a ton of putts,” Kester said, according to a news release. “Once you start making a few [putts], they just continue to keep dropping.”

Niemiec was ranked as high as 11th, but a poor showing during the final round left her in 26th.

The Huskies were shut out of post-season awards. Kent State’s Jennifer Ha, who was the tournament champion, took home the Golfer of the Year award.