SEWARD, Neb. – Sophomore Murphy Sears had a tough act to follow. She entered the 2017-18 season knowing she was expected to take over the role of No. 1 golfer after following the lead of 2016-17 GPAC champion Amy Ahlers. As it turned out, Sears was ready for primetime. With solid rounds of 84 and 83 over the past two days, Sears landed inside the top 10 on the final GPAC championships leaderboard.
Sears was the steadying force for a squad that wound up in 10th place with a four-round conference score of 383-376-377-368–1,504. The event wrapped up on Saturday (April 28).
“Murphy definitely made big strides this year,” Muller said. “She did a great job in taking over the No. 1 spot on the team. She definitely improved. She had a 73 and 74 this spring and showed that she is one of the top players in the conference. She’ll work hard this summer and I know she’ll have a goal of winning the conference next summer.”
Sears, a native of Crete, even made waves on a national scale this spring by earning an NAIA national golfer of the week award after shooting a career low. Her four-round total of 85-86-84-83–338 placed her eighth in the GPAC. Sears placed inside the top 10 of five tournament this season and was a champion in one.
The four teammates to join Sears at the GPAC championships this week at Quail Run Golf Course in Columbus, Neb., were Haley Nolde (100-100-95-87–382), Payton DeMers-Sahling (101-94-103-95–393), Paighton Barbre (106-105-96-103–410) and Madison Pitsch (102-107–209). Nolde’s 87 on Saturday marked a career low by six strokes. She placed 32nd in the GPAC.
Muller will return his entire lineup in 2018-19 and expects to add four newcomers to the roster, including a Seward High School product. Concordia will be seeking a move up the GPAC standings with a more experienced team this coming fall.
“We don’t have any seniors so we’ll have everyone back,” Muller said. “We’re bringing in four pretty good players that will be able to come in and compete for top five spots. It will be nice to have more depth. I look forward more competitive practices that will translate to a more competitive tournament team.”