By Colin Likas and Matt Rhinesmith
Junior Michele Nash finished her first day of play in the Butler Spring Invitational with a four stroke advantage on her nearest competitor.
By the end of the tournament, Nash had captured her second individual victory of the season, winning by 12 strokes and leading the Bulldogs to a team title.
“It feels good to shoot low,” Nash said. “I can see where practice is starting to show.”
Her 147 paced the Butler women’s golf squad to a team score of 648, six strokes better than second-place IUPUI and nine strokes better than third-place Loyola.
“We knew we’d be in contention,” head coach Bill Mattingly said. “IUPUI and Loyola have beaten us in tournaments, but we’ve been playing evenly with them.”
Finishing closest to Nash were Carly Schneider and April Ohlendorf, both Loyola freshmen. Both shot 159 for the tournament.
Butler senior Molly Fields recovered from an opening-round 86 to shoot 78 in the second round and post a final score of 164, good for second-best on the team.
Sophomore Julia Porter shot a two-day total of 166 to give the Bulldogs three athletes under 170.
Junior Clare Cornelius and senior Marcella Moreman rounded out the team, shooting 171 and 176, respectively.
Nash’s play was the story of the day on the women’s side, however.
“It’s her second tournament victory and she’s had a runner-up [finish] and two or three other top ten finishes,” Mattingly said. “She’s been consistent and hitting a lot of quality shots.”
The Bulldogs will stay in Indianapolis for the Big Four tournament April 7 before heading to the Brown Bear Invitational in Providence, Rhode Island April 10.
On the men’s side of the invite, things did not go as well for Butler.
Sophomore Alex Walker had the best score for the Bulldogs, finishing at 151 as the Bulldogs placed ninth of the 13 teams competing.
Butler posted a team score of 624. First-place Purdue finished with a score of 578.
Walker shot a 75 on Monday and a 76 on Tuesday to lead the Bulldogs.
Butler’s top golfer after the first round, sophomore Andrew Wegeng, finished with a total score of 153, while senior Ryan Wegeng shot 158 over two days.
Purdue junior William Sjaichudin took home the individual tournament title with a total score of 136. He finished six strokes ahead of the second-place finisher, Neal McCarty of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Although the men’s squad has faced several non-conference opponents recently, Mattingly knows where the team’s focus has to be.
“Our main focus this season is obviously on our conference,” Mattingly said. “It’s nice to see some of these guys from bigger schools once in a while, but we need to stay focused on our conference.”