The Nebraska women's golf team will compete in its second tournament of the spring campaign when the Huskers travel to Peoria, Ariz., to participate in the Westbrook Spring Invitational, Feb. 26-27.
The Huskers will tee off in the 54-hole event on the Vistas Course at the Westbrook Village Golf Club on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 9:30 a.m. (central). NU will compete for 36 holes beginning with a shotgun start on Sunday, before playing a final 18 holes on Monday at 9:30 a.m.
Nebraska will take aim at a talented 12-team field on the par-72, 6,178-yard layout of the Vistas Course. All 12 teams in the tournament, which is hosted by the University of Wisconsin, are ranked among the top 100 in this week's Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Texas Tech heads the field at No. 28, while No. 55 Illinois, No. 59 Idaho, No. 67 Colorado State, No. 72 Nebraska and No. 74 Kansas State make up six teams in the field among the nation's top 75.
No. 77 Iowa, No. 79 Eastern Michigan, No. 83 Wisconsin, No. 86 Indiana, No. 93 Washington State and No. 96 UTEP round out the field.
Senior Madeleine Sheils will play out of the top spot in the Nebraska order after finishing eighth at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic to open the spring. Sheils leads the Huskers with a 74.50 stroke average on the year and owns four top-10 finishes as one of the nation's top players. Sophomore Steffi Neisen will occupy the No. 2 spot, while senior Kayla Knopik will compete out of the No. 3 spot. Freshman Shelby Martinek, who improved throughout the fall season, fills the No. 4 spot, while sophomore Katelyn Wright rounds out the NU top five. Senior Katie Keiser will also travel to Arizona to play as an individual.
Westbrook Spring Invitational
Location: Peoria, Ariz.
Course: Vistas Course / Westbrook Village Golf Club
Par: 72 - Yardage: 6,178
Shotgun Starts (All Times Central)
Sunday, Feb. 26 (36) - 9:30 a.m.
Monday, Feb. 27 (18) - 9:30 a.m.
1. Madeleine Sheils
2. Steffi Neisen
3. Kayla Knopik
4. Shelby Martinek
5. Katelyn Wright
Westbrook Spring Invitational (12 Teams)
Colorado State, Eastern Michigan, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas Tech, UTEP, Washington State, Wisconsin
Live Scoring: Golfstat.com
Sheils Opens Spring with Top 10 Finish in Puerto Rico
Madeleine Sheils fired an even-par-72 in the final round to finish eighth at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic at the Rio Mar Country Club Feb. 14.
Sheils' final-round 72 propelled her to a four-over-par 220 over three rounds. The senior from Boise, Idaho, finished seven strokes back of individual medalist Marta Silva Zamora from Georgia, who won the title at 213. Georgia's Emilie Burger, Arkansas' Emily Tubert and Laura Gonzalez from Purdue tied for second at 215.
Despite the top finishes from Bulldog individuals Zamora and Burger, No. 11 Georgia settled for second in the final team standings with an 886. SEC counterparts LSU, ranked 10th nationally in the GolfStat rankings, won the team title at 884. No. 7 Oklahoma State finished third (886) in a loaded 15-team field that featured 12 teams among the top 50 in the GolfStat national rankings.
NU managed a 14th-place showing in its first tournament of the spring season. The Huskers produced a final-round 312 on the par-72, 6,191-yard layout of The River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club to finish with a three-round total of 935.
Sophomore Steffi Neisen was NU's No. 2 finisher, managing a three-round total of 235 that included a final-round 80. Senior Kayla Knopik added a final-round 80 to finish in a tie for 59th (239), while freshman Shelby Martinek contributed an 80 of her own to tie for 69th (249). Katelyn Wright (249, 80th) and Katie Keiser (253, 82nd) rounded out the Nebraska contingent.
Huskers Close Fall with Best Scores of Season at Alamo Invite
Nebraska wrapped up its 2011 fall season with strong scoring at the Alamo Invitational in San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. The Huskers shattered their season-best tournament score with a three-round total of 884 on the Briggs Ranch Golf Course, crushing the 924 they produced at the Hoosier Fall Invite, Oct. 17-18.
Nebraska's effort in San Antonio included a school-record 280 in the second round, which eclipsed the previous best team mark of 284 set last season at the Mountain View Collegiate in Tucson, Ariz.
NU's strong team performance at the Alamo Invite included several career-best efforts. Steffi Neisen set the tone with a career-best 214 over three rounds to tie for second. Neisen shattered her previous career-best tournament total (224), while also firing a career-best 69 in the final round. The performance also marked the first top-five finish of Neisen's career.
Senior Kayla Knopik set career bests with a three-round total of 219 (previous best 227) that included a career-best 69 in the second round. Knopik tied for 13th place in the final standings, which marked the second-best finish of her career trailing only her sixth-place showing at the season-opening Chip-N Club Invite.
Shelby Martinek (70, 2nd) and Katelyn Wright (72, 2nd) also fired career-best rounds for the Huskers
Neisen Claims Huskers' Third Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week Award
Nebraska sophomore Steffi Neisen claimed the first Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week award of her career when the conference announced its weekly winner on Nov. 3.
Neisen joined Purdue junior Paula Reto in capturing the conference's weekly honor, the Big Ten-leading third weekly award won by the Huskers this season.
Neisen, a native of New Prague, Minn., produced the best performance of her career in tying for second at the Alamo Invitational, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Neisen notched a career-best three-round score of 214 (-2), trailing only UTSA's Fabiola Arriaga by one stroke in the final individual standings.
Neisen's three-round total shattered her previous 54-hole score of 222 (set last season at the Mountain View Collegiate). Her performance at the Briggs Ranch Golf Course in San Antonio included a career-best three-under-par 69 in the final round. Neisen's career effort helped NU to its top team total (884) of the fall campaign.
Sheils Earns Two Big Ten Weekly Awards
Nebraska's Madeleine Sheils captured her second Big Ten Women's Golfer-of-the-Week award in a three-week span when she claimed the honor on Oct. 19.
Sheils, a senior from Boise, Idaho, posted her second top-five finish in three events by tying for fourth in a 77-player field at the Hoosier Fall Invite in Carmel, Ind., Oct. 17-18. Sheils produced a three-round total of 225 that included a final-round 72 to help the Huskers finish fourth in a 13-team field. Sheils has notched four top-10 finishes on the season and five top-20 showings in Nebraska's six events. She leads the Huskers with a 74.50 stroke average.
She became the first Nebraska golfer in history to win the Big Ten's weekly award on Oct. 6, following her tournament win at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in Sammamish, Wash., Oct. 3-5. Sheils' performance in Washington included a school-record-tying 67 on her way to a career-best three-round score of 214.
Sheils Captures First Career Crown in Washington
Madeleine Sheils tied the school record with a final-round 67 to capture her first collegiate title at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invite at the Sahalee Country Club Oct. 5.
Sheils, a senior from Boise, Idaho, claimed her first individual medalist honor as a collegian with a three-round total of 214, one shot better than Washington's Jennifer Yang and Oregon's Cassy Isagawa. Sheils' final-round 67 included six birdies (Holes 3, 7, 8, 11, 13, 15) and one bogey (Hole 6) to go along with 11 pars.
The 67 marked the lowest round Sheils has ever produced, and matched the Nebraska record shared by Stephanie Ruiz (Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invite, 2005), Kate White (Bronco Invite, 2007) and Natalie Gleadall (UNLV Spring Invite, 2009). Sheils' round was also one of only seven played at better than par in the 63-player field over three rounds (189 total rounds) and the only score better than 70.
Senior Trio Leads Huskers into First Season in Big Ten
The Big Red has moved to the Big Ten, and the Nebraska women's golf team is planning to show some big benefits from experience in 2011-12.
The Huskers, who were one of the most inexperienced teams in the Big 12 Conference last year with four first-year players in the lineup at times, return all but one starter from a year ago. Seniors Madeleine Sheils, Kayla Knopik and Katie Keiser lead a young and talented collection of seven freshmen and sophomores into Nebraska's inaugural Big Ten campaign with plenty of reasons for optimism.
Although the Huskers are still relatively young, Sheils and Knopik played in every round for the Huskers last season, and Keiser added 26 rounds in her first year at NU in 2010-11. Sheils, a three-year letterwinner from Boise, Idaho, brings a load of collegiate and national amateur experience to the top of the Husker lineup. She has played every round in the Husker lineup the past two seasons and the fall of 2011-12.
Sheils owns eight career top-10 finishes and 13 top-25 showings, while owning Nebraska's top returning stroke average from 2010-11. While battling for All-Big Ten honors on the course, the three-time NGCA Scholastic All-American will try to become just the fourth Husker in history to earn four Scholastic All-America awards, while also contending for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
Sophomores Hope to Make Greater Impact in Second Seasons
Steffi Neisen headlines a talented sophomore class. She competed in all 32 rounds for Nebraska last season. The New Prague, Minn., native produced the Huskers' No. 3 stroke average (77.13) on the year, which also ranked as the third-best stroke average by a freshman in school history. In the classroom, she was also an NGCA Scholastic All-American. With a year of collegiate experience and a strong summer, Neisen enjoyed a strong fall, posting a 76.60 average.
While Neisen was a fixture in the Husker lineup as a freshman, Katelyn Wright and also made multiple appearances in the NU top five in 2010-11.
Wright was regularly NU's No. 6 golfer early in the year, but earned spring lineup spots at the BYU Entrada Classic and the Mountain View Collegiate. For the season, she posted an 80.08 stroke average over 25 rounds. She has earned a lineup spot in each of Nebraska's tournaments of 2011-12.
Freshman Martinek Adding Depth and Competition
Along with added experience, the Husker roster features more depth in 2011-12 with the addition of four talented freshmen, led by Shelby Martinek. Nebraska entered 2010-11 with just eight players on the roster, and Bird and Molyneux each missed significant portions of last season with injuries.
One of the top high school golfers in the state of Arizona over the past four years and an experienced junior golfer at the national level, Shelby Martinek brings a decorated resume to Nebraska. The 2008 Arizona Class 5A-II state champion, Martinek was ranked as one of the top 175 players in the GolfWeek/Sagarin girls rankings as a senior at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe. Martinek is getting a chance to help the Huskers early in her career, competing as an individual at the Chip-N Club Invite before earning lineup spots at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, the Hoosier Fall Invitational, where she tied for 18th, and the Alamo Invite.
A pair of talented Nebraska natives will try to bolster the Huskers for the future with the addition of Lincoln's Jackie O'Doherty and Morgan Smejkal from Columbus.
O'Doherty, a two-time Nebraska Class A state champion, was a three-time Class A all-state pick in golf. She was also a member of the 2011 Four State Team and the 2010 Nebraska Junior Golf All-Star Team.
Smejkal was a two-time Class A all-state selection and produced a pair of top-five performances at the state tournament in her career. Smejkal was also a member of the Nebraska Junior Golf All-Star Team in 2009 and 2010, and she was a member of the Nebraska Four State Team in 2010 and 2011. One of the top young golfers in California, Cassidy Stelzmiller brings loads of potential to Nebraska. At the junior level, Stelzmiller was one of the top 400 players in the GolfWeek/Sagarin girls ratings. O'Doherty, Smejkal and Stelzmiller all plan to redshirt in 2011-12.
Huskers Continue to Set the Pace in the Classroom
Nebraska leads the nation with 59 NGCA Scholastic All-Americans since 1989, including two in 2011. Senior Madeleine Sheils has captured three straigh NGCA Scholastic All-America honors and will try to become just the fourth Husker in history to win four awards in 2012.
Sheils, a senior philosophy major from Boise, Idaho, hopes to join Jackie Beste, Allison Stewart and JC Stevenson as four-time Husker NGCA Scholastic All-Americans. Sheils was joined on the 2011 NGCA Scholastic All-America squad by 2010-11 freshman Steffi Neisen. The sophomore from New Prague, Minn., will take aim at her second straight award in 2012.
Overall, Nebraska owns one of the richest academic traditions in all of collegiate sports with a nation-leading 294 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans across all teams and all sports. The Huskers also lead the nation with 16 NCAA Top Eight Award winners. In 2010-11, Nebraska produced 15 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans while 113 student-athletes across all sports earned their bachelor's degrees during the 2010-11 academic year.