Huskers Head to Ohio for Big Ten Championships
The Nebraska women’s golf team travels to Maineville, Ohio, to compete in the 2017 Big Ten Championships, April 21-23.
The 14-team field will face a challenging, par-72, 6,357-yard layout at TPC River’s Bend, beginning with tee times on Friday at 7:30 a.m. (CT). The tournament continues with second round tee times on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. (CT), before concluding with the final round Sunday at 7 a.m. (CT).
The tournament will feature a six-count-four format, and Nebraska’s lineup starts at the No. 1 spot with freshman Kate Smith (Detroit Lakes, Minn.). Junior Audrey Judd (Olathe, Kan.) will compete out of the No. 2 position, while senior Sarah Pravecek (Omaha, Neb.) will be in the No. 3 spot. Freshmen Annie Sritragul (Bangkok, Thailand) and Claire Robertson (Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland) will occupy the No. 4 and 5 spots, while junior Emily Gillman (Austin, Texas) rounds out the Husker lineup in the No. 6 position.
Admission to the tournament is free and live scoring for the event will be available at GolfStat.com.
Nebraska heads to the Cincinnati area to take on a tough Big Ten field that includes eight teams ranked among the top 63 in the nation according to the most recent GolfStat rankings. No. 12 Northwestern heads the field, followed by No. 24 Purdue, No. 29 Illinois, No. 30 Ohio State and No. 33 Michigan.
The Huskers enter the tournament ranked 13th among the Big Ten teams, however the Big Red defeated Iowa, Indiana and Rutgers to close the regular season at the Hawkeye El Tigre in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
2017 Big Ten Championships
Location: Maineville, Ohio
Course: TPC River’s Bend (Par 72, 6,357 Yards)
Tee Times (Round 1): Friday, April 21 - 7:30 a.m. (CT)
Tee Times (Round 2): Saturday, April 22 - 7:30 a.m. (CT)
Tee Times (Round 3): Sunday, April 23 - 7 a.m. (CT)
Participating Teams (14)
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Kate Smith
- Audrey Judd
- Sarah Pravecek
- Annie Sritragul
- Claire Robertson
- Emily Gillman
Freshman Smith Setting Record Pace for Rising Big Red
Nebraska’s Kate Smith is setting an impressive standard early in her collegiate career. The freshman from Detroit Lakes, Minn., has produced seven top-25 finishes in nine tournaments this season, including a tie for eighth at the Clover Cup in Mesa, Ariz., March 17-19. Smith carded a career-best 214 over three rounds at the Clover Cup, including an opening-round 68 and a final-round 71. She owns nine rounds of better than par through the first 25 rounds of her career.
Smith’s 73.08 stroke average is 0.92 strokes per round better than Nebraska’s current single-season record set by Natalie Gleadall (74.00) in 2009-10.
Smith is 2.55 strokes per round ahead of Haley Thiele’s Nebraska freshman-record stroke average of 75.63 set last season. The only other Husker freshman in history to produce a stroke average better than 76 was eventual first-team All-American Sarah Sasse (75.89, 1998-99).
Smith produced three straight top-10 finishes during the fall, including a career-best tie for seventh with a career-best 215 (73-72-70) at the 18-team Ron Moore Intercollegiate, Oct. 7-9. For her efforts in Colorado, Smith claimed the first Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week award of her career.
Judd Earns Big Ten Honor, Claims First Tourney Title
Audrey Judd has shown impressive improvement on the course during the 2016-17 campaign.
The junior from Olathe, Kan., took her game to another level at the Westbrook Spring Invitational, Feb. 26-27. Judd captured her first collegiate tournament title with a career-best and school-record-tying three-round total of 209 to win the 13-team tournament hosted by Wisconsin in Peoria, Ariz. She opened with an even-par 72 before matching her then-career best with a second-round 69. She secured the win with a career-best 68 on the par-72, 6,269-yard layout of the Vistas Course at Westbrook.
Judd’s performance in the final round allowed her to overcome a three-stroke lead by Notre Dame’s Isabella DiLisio after 36 holes.
Judd lowered her season stroke average to 74.59 after her second top-five finish of the season at the Hawkeye El-Tigre, April 2-4. Judd led the Huskers with a three-round total of 217 in Mexico, including a four-under-par 68 in the final round to tie for fifth.
Judd’s stroke average this season represents a 3.55 stroke-per-round improvement over a year ago.
Judd’s performance this season may be even more impressive considering she spent much of the summer battling injury and was not in the Nebraska lineup at either the Ptarmigan Ram Classic or East and West Match Play Challenge to open the season.
Judd stormed into the close of the fall season with seven consecutive rounds of 75 or better on her way to three of the best tournament performances of her career.
After tying for 16th (79-73-73-225) at Nebraska’s Chip-N Club Invitational, Sept. 25-27, Judd fired a then-career-best 215 (69-75-71) to tie teammate Kate Smith for seventh at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate, Oct. 7-9. Judd’s opening-round 69 was a then-career best.
Judd closed the fall with a one-under-par 143 over two rounds at the rain-shortened Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown to tie for 36th in a loaded 105-player field.
Pravecek Providing Veteran Leadership for Young Huskers
Sarah Pravecek is the lone senior on Nebraska’s 2016-17 roster, and she has stepped up to provide consistent scoring and veteran leadership for a youthful collection of Huskers.
Through 25 rounds, Pravecek owns Nebraska’s third-best stroke average (76.92). Her stroke average represents a 0.91 stroke-per-round improvement over the 77.83 stroke average she produced as a junior over 24 rounds for the Huskers in 2015-16.
Perhaps even more importantly, Pravecek has carded 79 or better in 22 of her 25 rounds inside Nebraska’s lineup, providing a measure of consistency while surrounded by an inexperienced group of freshmen.
“Sarah has been very consistent and has done a great job with the freshmen,” Nebraska Coach Robin Krapfl said.
Off the course, Pravecek is a two-time academic All-Big Ten selection and was a member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team in 2016 and 2017 for her commitment to Nebraska’s community outreach and leadership efforts.
Gillman Adds Leadership On, Off the Course for Nebraska
Emily Gillman has complemented the leadership provided by senior Sarah Pravecek and junior Audrey Judd in 2016-17.
Gillman, a junior from Austin, Texas, ranks fifth among the Huskers with a 78.73 stroke average while competing in the NU lineup in the first 22 rounds this season.
She finished the fall strong by producing five consecutive rounds of 77 or better, including a pair of career-best scores of 72 at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate. She fired a career-best 219 (72-75-72) at Ron Moore to tie for 23rd in the best tournament showing of her career.
She added a two-round total of 150 (77-73) at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown. Her effort in 2016-17 marks a 2.44 stroke-per-round improvement over the 12 rounds she played a year ago (81.17).
Freshmen Playing Major Roles for Huskers in 2016-17
Nebraska is putting one of its youngest lineups in history on the course in 2016-17. The Huskers replaced 2015-16 seniors Cassie Deeg, Morgan Smejkal and Cassidy Stelzmiller with three true freshmen when they opened the season at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic.
Not only are the Huskers replacing three seniors, including fifth-year seniors Smejkal and Stelzmiller, they are also compensating for the loss of Haley Thiele. The sophomore from Wahoo, Neb., produced the best freshman stroke average (75.63) in school history in 2015-16 and was Nebraska’s No. 2 finisher at the Big Ten Championships. Thiele is redshirting in 2016-17 while recovering from a wrist injury.
With four open spots in the lineup and just one senior - Sarah Pravecek - on the roster, the four members of Nebraska’s freshman class will continue to get chances to prove themselves in the lineup early in their careers.
Freshman Kate Smith has played out of the No. 1 spot in the lineup throughout the season, while freshmen Annie Sritragul and Claire Robertson also have earned lineup spots. Smith and Sritragul played out of the top two spots at the Chip-N Club Invitational, while Robertson and Jessica Haraden competed as individuals.
Sritragul competed inside the Nebraska lineup in four of five fall events and has played in all 25 rounds for the Huskers. She carries a 77.76 stroke average to rank fourth among the Huskers. She has produced 15 rounds of 78 or better, including a career-best 71 in the final round of the Ron Moore Intercollegiate, Oct. 7.
Robertson competed in four tournaments inside Nebraska’s lineup, while playing in 14 rounds this season. She fired a career-best 70 in the final round of the Chip-N Club Invitational to tie for 31st while playing as an individual outside the Husker lineup.
Thiele Redshirting in 2016-17
Sophomore Haley Thiele is redshirting during the 2016-17 season while recovering from a wrist injury that kept her out of action throughout the summer of 2016.
Thiele produced one of the best freshman seasons in Nebraska history in 2015-16, notching a freshman school-record 75.63 stroke average.
She also closed her rookie year as NU’s No. 2 finisher at the Big Ten Championships in 39th place. During the season, Thiele tied the Husker freshman record with a five-under-par 67 at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown while matching first-team All-American Sarah Sasse’s overall NU record with a 54-hole score of 209.
“Haley showed her outstanding potential last year, but we all feel like she has a lot of great golf ahead of her,” Nebraska Coach Robin Krapfl said. “Her injury kept her off the course the entire summer, and she has a good plan in place for a complete recovery. We know it is the best thing for her future as a golfer and for our program.”
Freshman Smith Continues Minnesota Connection
Kate Smith has established a record-setting pace in the Husker lineup during 2016-17. Her 73.08 stroke average is 0.92 strokes per round ahead of Nebraska’s previous single-season record of 74.00 (Natalie Gleadall, 2009-10).
Smith, a true freshman from Detroit Lakes, Minn., is the only five-time individual state champion in Minnesota high school history. She capped her career by claiming a share of her record fifth title on June 15, while leading Detroit Lakes High School to its fourth state team championship in the past five years.
The winner of the 2016 Minnesota Ms. Golf Award, Smith set three course records as a senior, including a 64 at The Vintage Course. As a junior, she produced a stellar 70.37 stroke average.
Smith continues a tradition of top golfers from the state of Minnesota playing at Nebraska, including Cassie Deeg (Hugo, 2013-16), Steffi Neisen (New Prague, 2011-14), Chrissie McArdle (Eden Prairie, 2004-07) and Jackie Beste (2003-06). The 2016-17 season marks the seventh straight year Nebraska has had at least one Minnesota golfer in its lineup.
Big Red Face Solid Schedule
The Huskers faced another strong schedule in 2016-17, beginning with the Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Fort Collins, Colo., Sept. 12-13. The Huskers continued the fall at the East & West Match Play Challenge in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sept. 18-20. Nebraska made its only home appearance at the 2016 Chip-N Club Invitational at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln, Sept. 25-27.
The Huskers returned to Colorado for the Ron Moore Intercollegiate in Denver, Oct. 7-9, before wrapping up the fall schedule at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown in Boulder City, Nev., Oct. 23-25.
The spring opened with the Central District Invitational in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Feb. 20-21, before NU competed at the Westbrook Spring Invite in Peoria, Ariz., Feb. 26-27. Nebraska returned to Arizona for the Clover Cup in Mesa, March 17-19, before concluding the regular season at the Hawkeye El Tigre in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, April 2-4.
NU heads to Maineville, Ohio, to compete at the Big Ten Championships, April 21-23, 2017. The Huskers will compete for the conference crown on the Arnold Palmer-designed Tournament Players Club River’s Bend Course.
Nebraska hopes to contend for its 12th NCAA Regional bid since 1994. NCAA Regional competitions will be held in Columbus, Ohio (Ohio State), Lubbock, Texas (Texas Tech) and Albuquerque, N.M. (New Mexico) May 8-10, before the NCAA Championships are held at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., May 18-24.
Huskers Set Pace in Classroom
Nebraska leads the nation with 69 WGCA Scholastic All-Americans since 1989.
Cassidy Stelzmiller earned the third WGCA Scholastic All-America award of her career in 2016. She also claimed the honor in 2013 and 2015. Stelzmiller, who was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2013 and 2015, joined Haley Thiele in capturing the WGCA Scholastic honor in 2016. Emily Gillman was a 2015 WGCA Scholastic All-America award winner. Gillman added a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar award in 2016.
Five Husker golfers earned academic All-Big Ten accolades in 2016, including Stelzmiller, Cassie Deeg, Morgan Smejkal, Sarah Pravecek and Audrey Judd.
Overall, Nebraska owns one of the richest academic traditions in all of collegiate sports with a nation-leading 327 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans across all teams and all sports. NU also leads the nation with 17 NCAA Top Ten Award winners.