The second season under head coach Jill McCoy began on a high note for the Valparaiso University women’s golf team at this week’s Loyola Fall Invitational, hosted at Flossmoor Country Club in Flossmoor, Ill. Valpo’s 54-hole team score in relation to par shattered a program record that had stood for over five years by four strokes, while senior Kayla Krueger (Spring Lake, Mich. / Spring Lake) established a new individual program record for 54-hole score in relation to par.
How It Happened
- Valpo closed out the tournament with a 316 in the final round, completing the event at 963 (+77). Valpo placed sixth of nine, just five strokes away from Missouri Valley Conference foe UNI, which occupied fifth place. Drake (925, +49) was the team champion.
- Freshman Cailey Rooker (St. Joseph, Mich. / St. Joseph) posted a 76 in the third round to own the team lead. She made a 10-stroke improvement from her Round 2 score and went seven strokes better than her top round on the event’s first day.
- Krueger posted a 77 on Tuesday to finish at 228 (+9), which put her third in a 53-player field. She was one stroke behind runner-up Haeri Lee of Drake and four strokes in back of Creighton’s Katie Allen, the individual medalist.
- Senior Tiffany Curtis (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point) strung together her third straight round of 78 or better on Tuesday, stroking a 78 to secure a Top 10 finish in the event. Her 54-hole score of 232 (+13) tied for seventh.
Inside the Round
- Krueger finished the tournament with a 2.75 average on Par 3 holes, the best in the field. She knocked in nine birdies (second), while Curtis achieved 37 pars (second). Valpo had 24 birdies as a team, third-most in the tournament behind Drake (26) and South Dakota (25).
- The previous program record for 54-hole tournament score in relation to par had stood since April 25-27, 2014 when Valpo achieved a +81 at the Horizon League Championship.
- The team’s overall score of 953 also cracked the program record book, ranking fifth. It was the best total score by the team since the squad set the program record for 54-hole tournament overall score with a 941 at the Fort Wayne Classic on April 2-3, 2017.
- Krueger’s 54-hole score of +9 was three strokes better than the previous record that was set by Kelly Voigt at the 2013 Horizon League Championship and matched by Michelle Kleckner the following fall at the Golfweek Program Challenge.
- Curtis posted a +12 in the event, placing her fourth in program history in 54-hole tournament low in relation to par behind only the aforementioned trio of Voigt, Kleckner and Krueger.
- Krueger’s 228 tied for third in program history in 54-hole tournament low. It was the best 54-hole score by any Valpo player since Angie Kim had a 226 at the Bucknell Invitational on Sept. 19-20, 2015.
- Curtis’ total score of 232 is tied for eighth in program history. Entering the season, no Valpo player had a 232 or better in a three-round tournament since April 2017. In the first tournament of this season, two Valpo players achieved 232 or better.
- Krueger’s third-place finish was Valpo’s first in the Top 5 since Angie Kim tied for fourth at the Braun Intercollegiate in October 2016. Excluding events that featured only two or three teams, Krueger was the first Valpo player to finish in the Top 3 in a tournament since Erika Pfaender placed third of 34 in the Crusader/Jaguar Challenge in April 2014.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jill McCoy
“It was a great start to a new season. I’m really proud of our team for the way we played this week. Kayla and Tiffany closed out strong tournaments, and Cailey really stepped up as well by posting a great score today.”
The MVC Fall Preview is next on Valpo’s docket as the teams will compete starting on Monday, Sept. 23 at Spirit Hollow Golf Course in Burlington, Iowa. The two-day, 54-hole event will serve as a precursor to the 2020 MVC Championship, which will also be held at Spirit Hollow.