DANIELS, W.V. - Bridgewater women's golf opened its 2018-19 season at the Glade Springs Intercollegiate Golf Championship on Monday. The Eagles posted a team score of 352 which put them in fifth place among thirteen teams, all of whom are D-II teams other than Bridgewater.
"I really did not want to have the ladies in competition less than a week after we started practices," said head coach John Rogers, "but there are not enough women's events out there right now, so we decided to jump in with some D-II teams, and Glade Springs is a great place to play anyway."
Despite a lack of experience (only two of the Eagles have played more than eight collegiate tournaments), Bridgewater was able to be competitive with schools from the higher division.
Senior Amanda Kelley led the way on Monday by shooting an 81, which puts her in a tie for sixth place among 65 players. Kelley, who expressed frustration with her putting after four 3-putts, nonetheless managed a score two shots below her scoring average from the 2017-18 season. A highlight for Kelley was reaching the green in two shots on the 476-yard 10th hole and dropping a tap-in birdie.
Junior Jesse Bartley, the only other Eagle with extensive experience, shot 88 to start the season, but she really played better than the score suggests; she birdied the 5th hole and was just one stroke over par when her tee shot on the par-5 7th hole found an area with tall native grasses and it took her multiple shots to get out. Bartley took a 12 on that hole and had one other triple bogey, but otherwise was just six shots above par on the remaining sixteen holes.
Freshman Heather Donnelly started her college career with a solid 86 which puts her in a tie for 12th place. It took Donnelly a little while to figure out the speed of the greens and she turned in 45 strokes, but she played steadily on the back-nine, improving by four strokes. A highlight was knocking in a downhill 10-footer for birdie on the 15th hole.
Sophomore Abby Papke turned in the fourth score for the team, a 97. The Stonehaven Course at Glade Springs played long for Papke on Monday, but she was still able to contribute to the team score for the third time in her young career.
Freshman Hannah Woodson came in just behind Papke with a 98. Woodson started her college career with a birdie on the first hole and was only one stroke above par through her first four holes, before she hit a rough stretch of holes. The William Monroe alum nonetheless demonstrated skills that suggest she will be a factor for Bridgewater in the years ahead.
The Eagles finished the day in fifth place, just seven strokes behind the host school, University of Charleston. Mercyhurst University leads after an opening round of 329.
This tournament marks the first time in over four years the Eagles have teed it up without Christina Herbert, Bridgewater College's first-ever four-time All-American athlete. "We are a young team and have very little time to prepare for competition," noted Rogers, "but it's great to see our team stand up to these D-II teams. We have to create a new identity in the post-Christina era, and you cannot expect to replace one of the best players in the country, but it looks to me like the program is in good hands."
Play resumes Tuesday at 9:30 on the Cobb Course at Glade Springs.