VERMILLION, S.D. – The top four in the Concordia University women’s golf all shot 90 or lower in the opening round of the 2018-19 GPAC Women’s Golf Championships on Monday (Oct. 1). Led by freshman Kendra Placke, the Bulldogs turned in a season low 18-hole team total of 334 while in competition at The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, S.D.
Eighth-year head coach Brett Muller’s squad sits in third place with 54 holes of GPAC action still to be contested. Individually, Placke was the story of Monday’s round. She shot a three-over-par 75 and is in first place (one stroke better than three players who shot a 76).
“Last night at our team meeting we set a goal of 336 coming into day one,” Muller said. “I thought in the practice round the course set up pretty well for us. We played well and knew that if we played like that today we’d be in that mix. Obviously it’s extremely tight with six schools within 11 shots of second place. We’re going to have to come out and play well tomorrow.”
Placke even outdid her career best of a four-over-par 76 at the Mount Marty Invite (Aug. 30). She entered this event having placed inside the top 10 of each of the first four tournaments of her collegiate career. The 75 Placke shot on Monday is a lower round than any of the four that program standard setting Amy Ahlers turned in during her conference championship run in 2016-17.
“Obviously Kendra is a great competitor,” Muller said. “Her distance is definitely the strength of her game. She was able to get in some positions that set herself up for some birdies. She’s hitting the driver well. Top to bottom, I thought we putted much better and that really showed in our team score.”
A top 10 placer in the GPAC last season, junior Murphy Sears (two-time all-conference) carded an 83, putting her 14th on the conference leaderboard. Sears is the lone returner in Concordia’s GPAC lineup. The rest of the group on Monday included freshman DJ Bokelman (86; T-25th), sophomore Andrea Peterson (90; T-38th) and freshman Britney Jepsen (101; T48th). There are 59 golfers in the GPAC field. The 86 from Bokelman was critical in separating the Bulldogs from other squads at the No. 3 position in the lineup.
In the team race, the Bulldogs are only one stroke behind second place Dakota Wesleyan (333). Morningside is on top after shooting an impressive 310. Concordia will need to put together another good round on Tuesday to keep in front of Briar Cliff (336), Jamestown (336), Northwestern (337) and Mount Marty (344). The Bulldogs have their sights set on making a big leap forward after placing 10th in the conference in 2017-18.
The GPAC championships will continue from Vermillion, S.D., on Tuesday. The first tee time for the Bulldogs will be at 10:40 a.m. Two rounds of conference championship play will also take place April 26-27 at York Country Club in York, Neb. For live scoring during Tuesday’s round, click HERE.