Let’s face it: it has been hard to follow college golf in the first two weeks of the season.
With the myriad issues Spikemark has faced providing scoring for college golf, numerous tournaments and schools have been forced to find other ways to keep track of their tournaments and provide live scoring. Some have used Golfstat and Golf Genius. However, the issues Spikemark has faced have made it difficult for coaches, players, parents, fans and more to simply follow the sport.
However, that doesn’t take away from what has been an incredible start to the year.
For the first time, a woman shot 60 in a tournament. A team won its first tournament in Division I. And much, much more.
Here are some storylines you may have missed from the start of the 2023-24 college golf season.
Abilene Christian women win first D-I tournament
What a start in Division I for the Abilene Christian women’s golf team.
The Wildcats won the A-Ga-Ming Invitational, which was the program’s first tournament in program history. They carded rounds of 289, 282 and 290 for 3-under par and finished 16 strokes ahead of second-place Oakland in the 13-team field. ACU had three top-five finishers.
Sydney Williams and Ryann Honea finished T-3 at even-par 216.
“To win our very first event in school history is special,” Abilene Christian coach Rob Bennett said. “We have a phenomenal group of young women that not only excel on the course, but off as well. Our upperclassmen are leading well and the freshmen have proven that they belong. They all showed this week that they were ready to make history and they did it. We have big goals for this season, and to start with a win gives us affirmation that we can compete to win tournaments.”
A record-setting 60
No one in the history of women’s college golf had shot 60. That is, until Lauren Olivares Leon did it for N.C. State at the Cougar Classic.
The round of 11 under at Yeamans Hall Club included 13 birdies and two bogeys. A total of 17 men have shot 60 in collegiate events.
Golfstat’s live scoring originally had Olivares Leon down for a 59 – a number that no male or female collegiate player has ever shot. There was a scoring error, however, on the seventh hole. Golfstat had Olivares Leon down for a birdie, though she’d made par. The score was noted correctly on her official card.
Alex McCulla sets records for Illinois State
Illinois State junior Alex McCulla had a record-setting result at the Island Resort Collegiate.
McCulla set a school tournament record with a 199, the first time in program history someone completed a three-round tournament under 200, topping the previous record of 202 set by David Perkins at the Bearcat Invitational in the fall of 2019.
Of his three rounds, two are inside of the top five for lowest single-rounds in school history, as his opening round 64 is the third-lowest round in school history, while his second round 65 is tied for fifth best.
He won the tournament, McCulla’s first collegiate victory.
Checking in on Golfweek event winners
There have been a pair of Golfweek events to begin the season.
First, the LSU men were victorious at Dalhousie in the Golfweek Collegiate Kickoff. Alex Price from LSU, a D-III transfer, won in his first start for the Tigers.
Illinois reloads with big win at Sahalee
The Illinois men beat a loaded field at the new Sahalee Players Championship in Sammamish, Washington, behind a runner-up finish by true freshman Max Herendeen in his collegiate debut.
Arizona State junior Preston Summerhays won the individual title, earning an exemption into the PGA Tour’s Fortinet Championship. Summerhays made his first Tour cut in six starts.
The Illini posted a 54-hole team score of 1-under 863 to win by eight strokes over Arizona State and 11 shots ahead of host Washington. No. 18 Arizona and 23rd-ranked Duke rounded out the top 5 of the team standings at 12-over and 16-over, respectively.
Houston sets numerous records at Sam Golden Invitational
The Houston women’s golf team set numerous records in its win at the Sam Golden Invitational.
After posting a then-school-record 272 in the first round, the Cougars shot 20-under 268 to pull away and clinch the tournament at 48-under 816.
Competing in her first collegiate event, freshman Ellen Yates earned medalist honors with a score of 14-under 202. With her championship, Yates became the fastest student-athlete to earn medalist honors in program history.
Belmont goes back-to-back
The Belmont men’s golf team made some history on Tuesday as they swept the team and individual titles at the Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational held this week at Guyan Golf and Country Club in Huntington, West Virginia. The Bruins topped host Marshall for the team championship, while sophomore Jack Schoenberger earned medalist honors.
This week’s win marked the first time in program history the Bruins swept team and individual titles in back-to-back tournaments. It’s just the second time in the Division I era that the program has won consecutive team titles.
The win was the first in college for Schoenberger.
Kansas women continue to improve
The Kansas women’s golf team continues to show improvement under second-year coach Lindsey Kuhle.
The Jayhawks had a stellar final round in the Branch Law Firm/UNM Dick McGuire Invitational at UNM Championship Course, breaking the school record for lowest 18-hole score in the final round shooting a 14-under 274. Kansas finished second in the tournament.
“Really proud of the way the entire team stepped up and competed,” Kuhle said. “We started off well and finished strong. We’ve got a talented group and I’m excited to see what we can do this year. Incredible tournament and finish from the team this week breaking the school record by five strokes.”
Kansas’ new record eclipses the previous record of 9-under 279 set at the Wisconsin Westbrook Invitational last season. The Jayhawks posted a tournament score of 4-under 860 after a historic final round, vaulted by a 5-under 67 from junior Jordan Rothman and a 4-under 68 from Incarnate Word transfer Lily Hirst.
Kansas improved six spots to finish second in the talented 16-team field. The Jayhawks finished the tournament behind Pepperdine, who were No. 15 on Golfweek’s 2023-24 preseason women’s college golf team rankings.
Records for Purdue in home event
After building a lead thanks to a school-record 18-under 270 in the second round, Purdue captured the team title at the Boilermaker Classic. The 54-hole team total matched the fourth-lowest score in school history alongside the Boilermakers’ performance at the 2008 Indiana Invitational.
Senior Kan Bunnabodee paced Purdue with a final round 3-under 69 to finish runner-up on the individual leaderboard at 9 under. Her 207 (75-63-69) matched her career low and tied for the third-best 54-hole total in program history with the help of a school-record 63 in the second round. Bunnabodee earned her best performance as a Boilermaker and the fifth top 10 of her career.
Some things never change … Vandy wins again
Vanderbilt was stellar in the final round, coming from behind with a 12-under performance to win the Valero Texas Collegiate, a new event at TPC San Antonio.
Entering Monday’s third round, Vanderbilt found itself in third place but only trailed leader TCU by three strokes. The Horned Frogs still held a 3-stroke lead over the Dores approaching the back nine, but that was when Vandy began its comeback trail.
The Commodores shot 10 under as a team on the back nine to end the day at 12-under 276 and posted a five-stroke victory over TCU to claim their first team title of the 2023-24 campaign. It is the first team win for Vandy since capturing first place at the Mason Rudolph Championship last spring, while it is the 36th team tournament title the Commodores have won under coach Scott Limbaugh.
South Carolina wins Annika Intercollegiate
South Carolina won the team title at the Annika Intercollegiate at 26 under, beating Oregon by three strokes and defending event champion and national champion Wake Forest by four.
South Carolina’s Louise Rydqvist, Duke’s Phoebe Brinker, Florida State’s Lottie Woad and Oregon’s Kiara Romero all finished at 8-under 208 for the tournament, sharing medalist honors.
Rydqvist also earned a coveted exemption into the inaugural The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican taking place Nov. 6-12 at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Florida. One player from the winning team earned a spot in the field, and Gamecocks’ coach Kalen Anderson chose Rydqvist, from Sweden, for the honor.
Note: Lance Ringler contributed to this story