Lincoln - On a blistering hot day made tougher by gusting winds, the Nebraska women's golf team scorched Wilderness Ridge for the second-best round in school history to open the 2013 Chip-N Club Invitational.
Nebraska opened its 2013-14 season with a four-under-par 284 on the 6,251-yard, par-72 layout at the Wilderness Ridge Golf Course. The performance, which featured a two-under-par 70 from Steffi Neisen, a 71 by fellow senior Katelyn Wright, a 71 by true freshman Jordan Chael and a 72 by sophomore Cassie Deeg, was the second-best round in Husker history. It trailed only a school-record 280 in the second round of the 2011 Alamo Invitational in San Antonio, Texas.
NU's round surpassed an NU Chip-N Club Invitational record 285 set in 1998, a Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational round of 285 in 2005, and a 285 at the Mountain View Collegiate in 2007.
"What a terrific way to open the season," Nebraska Coach Robin Krapfl said. "The conditions today were anything but easy. The heat and the wind made everything a little tougher, and they both had a cumulative effect as the day wore on. It was a tough day out there for the players. For our team to put up the score they did in the first round was pretty remarkable. I've got to give credit to the team. They really came prepared to play and compete today."
By the end of the day, the Huskers had produced their best day in the long history of the Chip-N Club Invitational. NU's two-round total of 580 marked the best 36-hole in school history at the Huskers' home tournament, and the second-best two-round total ever.
"To have four golfers perform the way they did throughout the day was amazing," Krapfl said. "Katelyn hadn't practiced since Tuesday because of injury, and then she comes out and goes under par. Steffi struggled last year, and for her to come out and play with the confidence she did and have fun, was great to see. For a freshman like Jordan to come out and go below par in her first collegiate round was awesome. Cassie was our steadiest player all day and could have gone even lower if she would have had her normal putting performance. So, there were a lot of things to feel good about on the first day."
Neisen, a four-year starter from New Prague, Minn., fired the top score of any of the 75 competitors in the opening round with a two-under par 70. She added a solid 73 in the second round to finish the day in a tie with Deeg atop the individual leaderboard.
Deeg, a sophomore from Hugo, Minn., played par golf in the opening round before shooting Nebraska's best number of the second round with a one-under-par 71 to match Neisen at 143.
Nebraska's two Minnesotans carry a narrow one-stroke lead over Central Arkansas' Malin Senneryd, who played par golf for the day at 144 (73-71).
Wright, a native of Incline Village, Nev., added a 76 to her career-best-matching opening-round 71. Chael, an Overland Park, Kan., native carded matching scores with Wright to close the day in a tie for sixth at 147.
Wichita State's Meghan Schuetz posted the best round of the opening day with a three-under-par 69 in the second round. She matched UCA's Senneryd in a tie for third at 144 through 36 holes. Another Central Arkansas golfer, Sarah Brown, carded rounds of 75 and 71 to close the day in fifth at 146.
Nebraska ended the opening round with a 19-stroke lead over Central Arkansas in the team standings, but the Sugar Bears and Wichita State both cut into NU's lead in the second round. While the Huskers posted a strong 296 in the second round, which actually matched their best round of the 2012-13 campaign, UCA and the Shockers each notched rounds of 292.
Nebraska enters Tuesday's final round with a 15-stroke edge over the second-place Sugar Bears (595) and a 19-stroke lead over Wichita State (599).
On Tuesday, the Huskers will take aim at their first team title since capturing the 2008 Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational and their first Chip-N Club crown since 2008. The final round of the 2013 Chip-N Club Invitational tees off with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. at Wilderness Ridge. Live scoring will be available on Huskers.com from BirdieFire.com.
2013 Chip-N Club Invitational
Wilderness Ridge Golf Course (Lincoln, Neb.)
Monday, Sept. 9 - Tuesday, Sept. 10
Team Standings (2 Rounds)
1. Nebraska - 284-296-580
2. Central Arkansas - 303-292-595
3. Wichita State - 307-292-599
4. Missouri State - 302-312-614
5. Iowa - 306-311-617
T6. UMKC - 318-313-631
T6. North Dakota State - 316-315-631
8. Houston Baptist - 320-319-639
9. Texas A&M Corpus Christi - 321-323-644
10. Nebraska-Omaha - 327-318-645
11. South Dakota - 331-320-651
12. Southern Miss - 319-336-655
13. Creighton - 330-330-660
Individual Leaders (2 Rounds)
T1. Steffi Neisen, Nebraska - 70-73-143
T1. Cassie Deeg, Nebraska - 72-71-143
T3. Meghan Schuetz, Wichita State - 75-69-144
T3. Malin Senneryd, Central Arkansas - 73-71-144
5. Sarah Brown, Central Arkansas - 75-71-144
T6. Katelyn Wright, Nebraska - 71-76-147
T6. Jordan Chael, Nebraska - 71-76-147
T6. Brenna Lervick, South Dakota - 76-71-147
9. Bryce Schroeder, Wichita State - 75-73-148
10. Karly Grouwinkel, Iowa - 76-73-149
T1. Steffi Neisen (Sr.) - 70-73-143
T1. Cassie Deeg (So.) - 72-71-143
T6. Katelyn Wright (Sr.) - 71-76-147
T6. Jordan Chael (Fr.) - 71-76-147
*T28. Cassidy Stelzmiller (So.) - 80-78-158
*T31. Yoorim Kang (RFr.) - 77-82-159
*T38. Abbie Hunke (RFr.) - 78-84-162
T60. Morgan Smejkal (So.) - 85-83-168
*T60. Hannah Luebke (So.) - 85-83-168