Jacoby claims GPAC No. 2 title; Ahlers moves into overall first-place tie

By on Oct. 6, 2014 in Women's Golf

Jacoby claims GPAC No. 2 title; Ahlers moves into overall first-place tie

LINCOLN, Neb. – Battling the toughest course she will face all season, freshman Emma Jacoby nearly cracked the 70s in claiming her first career tournament title. Jacoby’s 81 topped the field of 55 individuals at Monday’s GPAC Qualifier No. 2 held at the unforgiving Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb. Just three strokes behind, sophomore Amy Ahlers moved into a tie for first on the overall two-round leaderboard with her GPAC total of 78-84–162.

As a group, the Concordia University women’s golf team carded a 367 on Monday – 19 strokes shy of first-place Dakota Wesleyan – and end the fall season at third in the GPAC with a cumulative 343-367–710. Ahlers, Jacoby (82-81–163) and sophomore Kayla Krueger are all positioned in the top 10 as individuals.

“Going in I thought we could come in somewhere between 355 and 360, but I knew it was going to be tough,” head coach Brett Muller said. “The girls did a nice job playing it as well as they could. I think they felt a little beat up until we got back to the clubhouse and saw where we were as a team. We saw that everyone struggled a little bit.”

The word “struggle” did not describe Jacoby’s day. Her only frustration was finishing with a bogey on 17 and then a double bogey on 18. Her tremendous first 16 holes gave her enough cushion to stay on top on an afternoon in which she came up just a stroke off her career low.

After two GPAC rounds, Jacoby (Lincoln, Neb.) is just one stroke behind both Ahlers and Dakota Wesleyan’s April Barnett for the conference lead.

“She was very solid,” Muller said. “She put her tee balls in play and was consistently on the fairway. Her iron play was solid and she gave herself a chance to two-putt for pars.

“Firethorn has some very fast greens. That’s hard to get used to.”

Ahlers (Albion, Neb.) entered Monday’s round tied for second in the conference. She shot an 84 on Monday as she continues her bid for a GPAC title after placing fourth in the league last season.

“She was playing with the defending GPAC champion (Lauren Fitts of Dakota Wesleyan) and Northwestern’s No. 1 today,” Muller said. “She was with a solid group. Amy did not play as well as she is capable. She had some double bogeys that she normally stays away from.”

Krueger carded a 91 to place third on the team. Combined with her 83 in the first GPAC qualifier, the Aberdeen, S.D., native held onto a top-10 placement in the conference.

The final two spots in Concordia’s lineup were held down by freshmen Ashlen Pospisil (111) and Brenna Gnuse (114). Pospisil and Gnuse rank 46th and 48th, respectively, in the league standings after two rounds complete.

Conference favorite Dakota Wesleyan increased its overall lead to 49 strokes by carding a 348 on Monday. While first place may be out of reach heading into the spring, the Bulldogs are now just one stroke off of second-place Northwestern (334-375–709), which posted an abnormally high total like many teams trying to navigate Firethorn.

“Talking to other coaches, they felt like this was the toughest course the women have ever played at for a GPAC qualifier,” Muller said. “I can’t imagine what the scores would have been like if it had been a rough day weather-wise. Today the weather was perfect.”

Concordia took advantage of an opportunity on Sunday to run through a practice round on the Firethorn course. That may have helped give the Bulldogs an edge as they aim to move up to second in the conference when GPAC action resumes in the spring with two more qualifiers. The Bulldog women have now completed their fall season. Ahlers leads the team after six rounds with a season average of 83.17.