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Women’s Golf Wrap Up Undefeated Regular Season, Prepare for NCAA Championships

Undefeated.
That’s how the Carleton women’s golf team ended the regular season, cruising to a 34-shot victory in winning their own invitational. The Knights posted rounds of 301 at Willingers Golf Club and 314 at Northfield Golf Club, and the resulting 615 was a tournament record and the fourth-best 36-hole score in school history.

Ziyi Wang (Jr./Beijing City, China/Lighthouse Christian Academy) paced four Knights inside the top 10, notching her second win of the season. She matched her career best with an even-par 72 on Saturday at Willingers, and scrambled for a 79 on Sunday after starting six-over par on the first three holes. Abby Euyang (Fy./Seattle/Lakeside) fired a four-over par 76 in Sunday’s final round, rocketing up the leaderboard to finish tied for third at 155. Alyssa Akiyama (So./Cincinnati/Seven Hills School) posted rounds of 77 and 79 and ended tied for fifth at 156. Ayumi Sakamoto (Jr./Honolulu/’Iolani School) finished eighth at 157.

The highlight of the weekend was Saturday’s 301, the fourth best single-round score in school history. Wang’s 72 led the way, while Alexis Chan (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Rock Canyon) posted a career-low three-over par 75. Their scores were backed by Akiyama and Sakamoto’s matching 77s.

“Honestly, that might be one of the best rounds we’ve ever played as a program,” Carleton head coach Eric Sieger. “Willingers is one of the toughest tests in the state, and for us to post a 301 showed that we’re truly an elite team in the country.” The Knights didn’t quite have their best on Sunday in blustery conditions at Northfield Golf Club, but were still able to scratch out a 314, the best score in the field by 10 shots.

“I was pleased we were able to post a solid score despite making some mistakes and our ball striking not being on point,” Sieger said. “It’s a sign of a great team to be able to do that.”

A second Saturday highlight was senior Tory Peterson (Marlborough, Conn./Loomis Chaffee School) posting an 88, one of her better career scores. The weekend marked her final competition, as it did for Haley Grable (So./Watkinsville, Ga./North Oconee), who is transferring to the University of Georgia at the conclusion of the school year.

“We will miss Tory and Haley. They both bring so many positive qualities to our program, and they’re such quality people with integrity, care for their teammates and they both keep everyone loose,” Sieger said. “They’ll always be a part of our Carleton women’s golf family, but it’s hard to see them both go.”

The Knights now turn their attention to the NCAA Championships, having earned the MIAC’s automatic bid to the national tournament this past fall. They’ll likely enter the event seeded 12th, although they hold the fifth-lowest scoring average in the country. The event is May 7-11 at Mission Inn’s El Campéon course in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.

“We bring an experienced team to nationals for really the first time,” Sieger noted. “Ziyi’s making her third NCAA appearance, and Ayumi and Alyssa went last year. This should help us navigate everything that nationals bring with it a bit better than in the past.”

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