Kate Smith and Vanessa Bouvet produced top-10 finishes at the season-opening Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Colorado.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Finish Strong at Ptarmigan Ram

By NU Athletic Communications

The Nebraska women's golf team capped a strong opening tournament with a final-round 293 to finish in third place at the 13-team Colonel Wollenberg Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday.

Nebraska's 293 was its best round of the three-day tournament on the par-72, 6,466-yard layout of the Ptarmigan Country Club, and the Huskers erased seven strokes off the lead held by Boise State from start to finish in the event. The Broncos won the team tournament title with a three-round score of 879. The Huskers finished with a three-round score of 888, but Nebraska's final-round total was seven shots better than Boise State's 300. Nevada finished second at 881.

Vanessa Bouvet put together another impressive round to finish in a tie for third in the 75-player field in her first collegiate event. Bouvet settled for a two-over-par 74 on Monday, but the true freshman from Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei put herself in position for a huge final-round upset of Boise State's Tara Finigan.

Bouvet (72-68), who entered the final round in second place seven shots back of Finigan (68-65-133) played the front nine at even-par 36 with nine straight pars. She added a par on the 10th before knocking in her first birdie of the day on No. 11. After pars on No. 12 and 13, she added a second birdie on the par-five 14th hole to move to two-under for the round and six-under overall through 50 holes of tournament play.

Meanwhile, Finigan was battling while playing alongside the Huskers. After entering the day 11-under, the two-time All-Big Sky Conference golfer at Portland before transferring to Boise State was two-over on the front nine, before settling for bogey on No. 10 and a double-bogey on No. 12.  After a birdie for Bouvet on 14, the two golfers were tied atop the leaderboard at six-under and remained that way through 15 holes. 

But Bouvet ran into her first trouble of the day on No. 16 and was forced to take a triple-bogey. She settled down for a par on No. 17, but closed the round with a bogey on No. 18. Finigan closed the round with pars on the final six holes to secure a one shot victory over UC Irvine's Janet Yeo (211), while Bouvet tied New Mexico State's Dominique Galloway and Long Beach State's Hunter Pate for third at 214.

"What a great tournament and great experience for Vanessa," Nebraska Coach Robin Krapfl said. "She played some really great golf. To start the final round seven strokes back and work her way all the way to even with three holes to play says a lot about her game and her competitiveness. Then she just made a course management mistake on 16, and she had to take a triple. She'll learn from that, but what a great tournament for a first time out. She just played steady for three days up to that point. She hit a lot of fairways and greens, but she actually left quite a few makable birdie putts out there. She will get better at that as well as the season goes on."

Nebraska's Kate Smith put together her best round of the tournament with a two-under-par 70 to finish at an even-par 216 over 54 holes. The junior from Detroit Lakes, Minn., notched the 10th top-10 tournament finish of her career by tying for sixth overall, just two shots back of Bouvet. Smith finished her round with six birdies, eight pars and four bogeys. For the tournament, Smith led the Big Red with 14 birdies.

"Kate played more like Kate today and did some really good things out on the course," Krapfl said. "She put up pretty good numbers all three rounds, but we know that she is going to play better as the season goes along."

Kirsten Baete helped the Huskers contend for the team title with a strong final-round 74. The redshirt freshman from Beatrice tied Bouvet for Nebraska's second-best round of the day, recording two birdies, 14 pars, two bogeys and one double bogey. Baete finished in a tie for 58th overall.

Fellow Nebraskan Haley Thiele also shot her best round of the tournament on Wednesday with a three-over-par 75 to finish in a tie for 35th at 228. The junior from Wahoo completed Nebraska's team round of 293.

"It was great to get better rounds every day from Kirsten and Haley," Krapfl said. "Kirsten played some really good golf today and gave us a good score, and so did Haley, who just looks better every time she takes the course and is gaining confidence in her game again. There's a lot of reasons to be excited and a lot of things we can learn from to get better the rest of the way, but it was a good first tournament."

Sophomore Noor Ahmed (Folsom, Calif.) settled for a final-round 79 to finish the tournament in a tie for 62nd (236). Junior Jessica Haraden (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) rounded out the Husker contingent with a final-round 81 to finish with a three-round total of 247, while playing as an individual outside Nebraska's lineup.

The Huskers return to Colorado next week for the Golfweek Conference Challenge at the Red Sky Golf Club in Vail. The three-day tournament begins with 18 holes on Monday, Sept. 24. 

Col. Wollenberg Ptarmigan Ram Classic
Host: Colorado State (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Ptarmigan Country Club (Par 72, 6,466 Yards)
Sept. 17-19, 2018

Final Team Standings
1. Boise State - 293-286-300-879 (+15)
2. Nevada - 296-294-291-881 (+17)
3. Nebraska - 300-295-293-888 (+24)
4. New Mexico State - 304-300-286-890 (+26)
5. Idaho - 304-292-295-891 (+27)
6. Colorado State - 305-297-295-897 (+33)
T7. Portland State - 301-305-292-898 (+34)
T7. UC Irvine - 302-295-301-898 (+34)
9. UNC Greensboro - 311-297-292-900 (+36)
10. San Francisco - 299-298-304-901 (+37)
11. Long Beach State - 308-297-297-902 (+38)
12. Northern Colorado - 309-304-301-914 (+50)
13. Wyoming - 301-306-311-918 (+54)

Final Individual Results
1. Tara Finigan, Boise State - 68-65-77-210 (-6)
2. Janet Yeo, UC Irvine - 69-72-70-211 (-5)
T3. Vanessa Bouvet, Nebraska - 72-68-74-214 (-2)
T3. Dominique Galloway, New Mexico State - 71-72-71-214 (-2)
T3. Hunter Pate, Long Beach State - 73-73-68-214 (-2)
T6. Kate Smith, Nebraska - 73-73-70-216 (E)
T6. Chaithra Katamneni, Nevada - 70-73-73-216 (E)
8. Sophie Hausmann, Idaho - 74-72-71-217 (+1)
9. Alexis Kershaw, UNC Greensboro - 73-73-72-218 (+2)
T10. Victoria Gailey, Nevada - 77-70-72-219 (+3)
T10. Valeria Patino, Idaho - 75-69-75-219 (+3)
T10. Alejandra Lobelo, Boise State - 72-75-72-219 (+3)

Nebraska Individuals
T3. Vanessa Bouvet - 72-68-74-214 (-2)
T6. Kate Smith - 73-73-70-216 (E)
T35. Haley Thiele - 77-76-75-228 (+12)
T58. Kirsten Baete - 83-78-74-235 (+19)
T62. Noor Ahmed - 78-79-79-236 (+20)
*74. Jessica Haraden - 84-82-81-247 (+31)

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