Women’s golf impresses at Islander Classic

By Rhema Rhea

Women’s golf continued its solid spring semester play when it moved up one spot Tuesday to finish sixth out of 16 during the Islander Classic.

The tournament was held in Corpus Christi, Texas, and marked the second time NIU took to the course during the second half of the season.

NIU started off the tournament with a first-round score of 306, which was the team’s lowest score since shooting a 307 in the first round of the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational on March 9, 2013.

The 317 during the second round was not as great but still allowed NIU to finish the first day of action in seventh place.

Sophomore Connie Ellett, who did not lose a match during NIU’s last outing in Florida, continued her nice play, shooting a 76 and 77 in her first and second round, respectively.

Ellett came back in her third round and shot a 75 to total 228, which was good enough for a 16th-place finish, the highest finish of any Huskie.

“Connie had a little bit of a tougher fall than we thought she should be,” said head coach Kim Kester. “She has bounced back and worked extremely hard this offseason. Her hard work is really showing that she’s coming out and firing at all pins and she’s going to go low this year, and she did well.

“Match play was a good setup for her and she did well in that tournament. She carried her momentum over, and I think she will have another strong day tomorrow.”

Freshman Lena Gautier joined Ellett as the only Huskies to post 70’s in all three rounds when she finished with a card of 75-78-78, which was good enough for 27th of 83 golfers.

During the final day of competition, NIU rallied one spot to take sixth place from Central Arkansas. NIU also came within one stroke of finishing above North Texas for fifth place (306, 317, 299).

The Huskies were one of four teams that totaled less than 300 in any round during the Islander Classic. Their 299 was also the best score of any round during Kester’s tenure as head coach.

“It’s the lowest round that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Kester said. “The hard work that the girls are putting in is paying off. They cashed in on everything today, throwing darts at the pin, and they were all over the pin. They put themselves into good birdie opportunities and cashed in on them. Overall it was a great tournament for us.”

Freshman Sydney Brickey, after struggling in the second round and carding an 80, finished her third round strong, putting up a 71.

Brickey’s 71 was the best round of her career and fourth-best single round score in NIU history. Brickey finished 19th of 83.

After posting scores of 84 and 81 during the first day, sophomore Samantha Coyne cut down her score and hit a 75 to finish in 50th. Senior Jenny Niemiec (77-82-80) finished 44th with a 239.