In an event where the Penn State women’s golf team had to play flawlessly to contend, it performed consistently each day, resulting in a successful tournament.
Junior Christina Vosters led the Nittany Lions throughout the Cougar Classic, which was hosted by the College of Charleston and featured a star-studded field. She strung together three consecutive 71s, which were career-best round scores, helping the team to a 13th-place finish out of 24 teams.
Vosters’ steady play also gave her a Top 10 finish; her 213 (-3) tied for sixth place, only one stroke from entering the Top 5.
“It certainly is a confidence boost, [but] I have to keep everything in perspective,” Vosters said of her finish. “ I have a lot of things I need to work on and need to improve so I can keep moving forward and help my team out as best as I can.”
Consistency was the key to Vosters’ success at the tournament. She birdied seven holes all tournament and even eagled once in the final round, compared to four bogeys and only one double bogey. In her second round, Vosters had seventeen pars and one birdie.
“I’m very pleased with my performance. It was a lot of fun to be out there and compete in such a fantastic field,” she said. “[It was] very competitive, with a lot of top teams in the country.”
Vosters has competed in every Cougar Classic since the Lions joined in 2010. More familiar with the course each season, she has steadily improved her play in the event.
In 2010, she tied for 99th-place with a 241 (+25). Last season, she moved up to third on the team and 72nd in the tournament with a 228 (+12). This year, she finally broke through and led the team to its strong finish.
“Every year it plays differently, it was certainly different from last year,” fVosters said of the course. “But I am fortunate because I have the ability to take notes and become more comfortable with the course every year.”
Similar to Vosters, the Lions stayed in contention because of their consistent play. After beginning the tournament on Sunday in 11th place with an opening team score of 293, they moved to 13th on Monday with a 296 and finished the tournament on Tuesday in the same position with another 296.
“Coming into this tournament, we were pumped up and excited and we knew that we could be really good in this great field. We went there, had fun, and we scored really well,” said junior Ellen Ceresko.
With a final score of 885 (+21), the Lions beat some of the nation’s best teams, such as Louisiana State University and University of South Carolina, which placed third and fifth in last year’s NCAA Championship, respectively. University of Virginia, which placed fourth in the NCAA Championship last season, had a poor third round and finished only five strokes ahead of the Lions.
“The team played wonderfully,” Vosters said. “I think that this fall is looking very promising for the entire team as a whole.”
Cereskowas right behind Vosters in the final standings. She tied her in the first round with 71, also a career-best, then shot a 73 and 74 to end her tournament at 218 (+2), which was good enough for a share of 25th place.
While Ceresko was pleased with the way she played, she was also excited with how the team did as a whole.
“Now we know that we’re not far off from being one of the top schools and being those powerhouses. I totally believe in this team that we could be a powerhouse, right next to all these schools,” she said. “We even beat some of the powerhouses, and it’s a great feeling. We’re going to strive on that, but still, at the end of the day we want more. We’re hungry, and we’re always looking forward.”
University of Florida won the team title, shooting under par every round and finishing with an overall score of 852 (-12), six strokes ahead of second-place Duke University. At 863 (-1), 2012 national runner-up University of Southern California was the only other school to finish under par.
Florida’s Camilla Hedberg had the best tournament, winning the individual competition with a 203(-13). She held off Duke’s Lindy Duncan, who finished the event in second place four strokes behind.
When the Lions tee off again, it will be at the Yale Intercollegiate. The tournament will begin in New Haven, Conn., on September 22.
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