Huskers Head to UNLV Collegiate Showdown
The Nebraska women's golf team will wrap up the fall season at the UNLV Collegiate Showdown in Boulder City, Nev., on Oct. 22-24.
The Huskers are coming off a top-10 team finish at the Pinehurst Challenge. The 17-team field at Nevada provides plenty of new competition to the Huskers this year, this tournament also features familiar foes from Missouri and South Dakota State.
The three-day tournament begins with 18 holes of play after a shotgun start at 2 p.m. (CT) on Sunday, Oct. 22 on the Desert Hawk and Coyote Run courses. The three-round tournament concludes with the final 18 holes on Tuesday, Oct. 24 with a shotgun start again at 10 a.m. (CT).
Nebraska Coach Robin Krapfl and the Huskers will be looking for continued improvement after a solid showing at the Pinehurst Challenge. Kate Smith captured her third top-10 finish in four tournaments this fall season, with a three-round career-best score of 212 (69-72-72) over three days of challenging conditions in Pinehurst, N.C. The sophomore from Detroit Lakes, Minn., and reigning Big Ten Co-Golfer of the Week improved her stroke average to 74.18 on the young season. Smith now has three Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week honors in her career, with two coming this season. She is tied with former Husker Cassie Deeg for the most career Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week honors as a Husker.
Freshman Noor Ahmed (Folsom, Calif.) also posted a career-best 216 and career low round 72, three times at the Pinehurst Challenge while competing as an individual (72-72-72).
Senior Audrey Judd from Olathe, Kan., also posted a season-low 69 in the second round of play on the No. 1 course at Pinehurst, finishing with a score of 218 (76-69-73).
UNLV Collegiate Showdown
Location: Boulder City, Nev.
Course: Boulder Creek Golf Club (Par 72/6,343 yards)
Sunday, Oct. 22, 2 p.m. (CT) - Shotgun (18 holes)
Monday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. (CT) - Shotgun (18 holes)
Tuesday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m. (CT) - Shotgun (18 holes)
Live Scoring (9-Hole): BirdieFire.com
Participating Teams (17):
Long Beach State
New Mexico State
San Jose State
South Dakota State
- Kate Smith (So. Detroit Lakes, Minn., 74.18 avg)
- Audrey Judd (Sr. Olathe, Kan. 73.27 avg)
- Annie Sritragul (So. Bangkok, Thailand, 74.36 avg)
- Noor Ahmed (Fr. Folsom, Calif. 76.64 avg)
- Hannah Thiele (Fr. Wahoo, Neb. 79.00 avg)
IND - Haley Thiele (So. Wahoo, Neb. 77.18 avg)
Smith Earns Big Ten Award After Pinehurst Effort
After posting a career-best 54-hole score of 212 at the Pinehurst Challenge, sophomore Kate Smith was named the Big Ten Co-Golfer of the Week on Oct. 11.
Smith's 212 is just three strokes off of Nebraska's 54-hole school record of 209. The Huskers shot an overall 876 at the tournament (290-287-299), managing a 10th place finish among 19 competing teams.
The Detroit Lakes, Minn., native managed 48 holes at or below par, highlighted by seven birdies and two eagles in two days at Pinehurst GC No. 1 (-4; 69-72-71). She tied for seventh, her third top-10 finish through four tournaments this fall. The honor is Smith's second of the fall season, and second consecutive honor for Nebraska as senior Audrey Judd (Olathe, Kan.) was named the Golfer of the Week on Oct. 4.
It was the third Golfer-of-the-Week honor of Smith's career, tied for the most of any Husker with Cassie Deeg, who earned three honors in 2013-14. This is also Nebraska's third Big Ten Golfer of the Week this fall, tying for the most honors earned in the fall season in NU history as Smith earned the Big Ten's inaugural Golfer-of-the-Week award on Sept. 6, 2017. Smith posted a career-best runner-up finish at the season-opening UNO Invitational, Sept. 1-2. Smith finished with a three-round score of 221 (76-70-75) on the par-72, 6,134-yard layout at ArborLinks in Nebraska City.
Smith helped the Huskers to a runner-up finish as a team as well, as Nebraska finished with a three-round score of 899. It was NU's best team finish since winning the Mountain View Collegiate in the spring of 2014.
Smith's sophomore season performance follows an impressive freshman campaign in 2016-17 where she earned a berth in the 2017 NCAA Columbus Regional to give Nebraska its first NCAA Regional competitor since current LPGA professional Madeleine Sheils in 2012.
Smith, who tied for 37th at the Columbus Regional, smashed the school record with her 73.90 stroke average during the season. She produced seven top-25 finishes in 10 tournaments as a freshman.
Smith, who added a ninth place finish at Nebraska's Chip-N Club Invitational, Oct. 1-3, owns seven top-10 tournament finishes and 10 top-25 showings in her young career. She has fired 12 rounds better than par in her career.
Judd Earns Big Ten Award After Chip-N Club Victory
Audrey Judd continued her strong start to her senior season with her second career tournament title by sharing medalist honors at the Chip-N Club Invitational at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln, Oct. 1-3.
For her performance in Nebraska’s home tournament, Judd earned her second career Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week award, and NU’s second weekly conference honor of the young season.
Judd stormed back from a four-shot deficit on the final day of the Chip-N Club with a two-under-par 70 to share the crown with UC Irvine’s Janet Yeo with a three-round total of 218. It was Judd’s third consecutive top-10 finish to open the season and her fifth in her last eight tournaments overall dating back to her first career win (209) at the 2017 Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, Ariz., Feb. 26-27.
Judd opened her senior season by taking fourth (225) at the UNO Invitational, Sept. 1-2, then tied for ninth (74-71-145) at the East & West Match Play Challenge on Sept. 17. Through 11 rounds, Judd leads the Huskers with a 73.27 stroke average.
Sritragul Strengthening Strong Sophomore Class
Annie Sritragul has shown drastic improvements in her game since arriving on the Nebraska campus as a 16-year-old from Bangkok, Thailand.
As a true freshman, Sritragul made nine lineup appearances for the Big Red and posted a 77.86 stroke average over 28 rounds, fourth-best among the Huskers. Her top finish in a three-round stroke play event came with a 42nd-place showing at the 2017 Clover Cup in March.
Through four fall tournaments, Sritragul’s improvement is undeniable. The sophomore owns a 74.36 stroke average through 11 rounds and has produced a trio of top-10 tournament finishes. She is coming off a career-best three-round score of 225 at the Chip-N Club Invitational, Oct. 1-3, where she finished in seventh place.
Sritragul, who celebrated her 18th birthday just days before the 2017 Chip-N Club Invite, opened the season with a tie for ninth at the UNO Invitational (229), before taking fourth over two rounds of stroke play at the East & West Match Play Challenge. Her effort in Wisconsin included a career-best, opening-round 70.
Haley Thiele Happy To Be Back In Big Red Lineup
Sophomore Haley Thiele is eager to make up for lost time after redshirting with a wrist injury in her second season as a Husker in 2016-17.
Thiele produced one of the best freshman seasons in Nebraska history in 2015-16, notching a then-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.
While her injury kept her off the course for the 2016-17 season, Thiele came back strong over the summer of 2017, capturing the Nebraska Women’s Amateur title and the Nebraska Women’s Amateur Stroke Play championship.
She continued her strong play by opening her sophomore season with her first career top-10 finish, a tie for sixth with a 227 at the UNO Invitational, Sept. 1-2.
Sophomores Shaping Heart of Husker Lineup in 2017-18
After putting one of its youngest lineups in history on the course in 2016-17, Nebraska still expects to feature an extremely young lineup in 2017-18. However, the freshmen who played major roles for the Big Red last year have a year of experience under their belts. The 2017-18 sophomore class also receives a major boost from the return of 2016-17 redshirt Haley Thiele, who had one of the best freshman seasons in school history in 2015-16.
Nebraska sophomores Annie Stritragul (No. 3), Kate Smith (No. 1) and Haley Thiele (Ind.) make up half of the Husker lineup at the UNLV Showdown behind senior Audrey Judd (No. 2) and ahead of freshmen Hannah Thiele (No. 5) and Noor Ahmed (No. 4).
Sritragul (3), Smith (1) and Haley Thiele (Ind.) have combined for seven top-10 tournament finishes through Nebraska’s first four events of the 2017 fall season.
Freshmen Could Contend for Spots, Add Support In 2017-18
Nebraska’s youthful lineup will be bolstered by four true freshmen in 2017-18. Noor Ahmed (Folsom, Calif.) earned her first lineup spot for the East & West Match Play Challenge after competing as an individual at the UNO Invitational, Sept. 1-2.
She played solid golf in Wisconsin, (76-78-154) tying for 36th at the East & West Match Play Challenge, Sept. 17. Both of Ahmed’s scores counted toward Nebraska’s team total. Ahmed also qualified for the Husker lineup heading into the UNLV Collegiate Showdown after an impressive individual performance at Pinehurst.
Ahmed was one of the top players in Northern California during her high school career at Vista del Lago High School. She was also a star in the classroom.
Fellow freshman Hannah Thiele has been one of the state of Nebraska’s top golfers the past four years at Wahoo Bishop Neumann High School. The 2015 and 2016 Nebraska Golf Association Girls’ Amateur of the Year, Thiele was the youngest player in history to win the Nebraska Women’s Stroke Play and Match Play tournaments, sweeping the titles in 2016 at age 18. Thiele also finished fourth at the 2016 Optimist International Junior Championship in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Thiele battled an injury throughout the summer and has been slowed early this season, but she made her first appearance as an individual at the East & West Match Play Challenge, Sept. 17-19 (76-84-160). She earned her first career lineup appearance at Nebraska’s Chip-N Club Invitational, Oct. 1-3, and made her second consecutive appearance in Nebraska’s top five at the Pinehurst Challenge, Oct. 9-10. Thiele will round out the lineup at the UNLV Collegiate Showdown.
Iowa high school Class 3A champion Brooke Newell joins three-time Nebraska Class B district champion Kirsten Baete as expected redshirts in 2017-18.
Sophomore Smith Continues Minnesota Connection
Kate Smith, a sophomore from Detroit Lakes, Minn., continues an outstanding tradition of top golfers from the state of Minnesota playing at Nebraska. Smith, who set Nebraska’s single-season stroke average record (73.90) while qualifying for the 2017 NCAA Central Regional, is the latest in a nearly continuous flow of Huskers from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Cassie Deeg (Hugo, 2013-16), Steffi Neisen (New Prague, 2011-14), Chrissie McArdle (Eden Prairie, 2004-07) and Jackie Beste (2003-06) were all standout golfers for the Big Red.
The 2017-18 season marks the eighth straight year Nebraska has had a Minnesota golfer in its lineup.
Smith 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, 2016 while leading Detroit Lakes High School to its fourth state team championship in the past five years. She was also the winner of the 2016 Minnesota Ms. Golf Award.
Big Red Face Solid Schedule
The Huskers face another strong schedule in 2017-18, beginning with the UNO Invitational in Nebraska City, Sept. 1-2. It marked the earliest start on the course for the Huskers since the 1996-97 season.
After a runner-up finish at the UNO Invite, the Huskers continued the fall against a loaded field at the East & West Match Play Challenge in Madison, Wis., Sept. 17-19.
Nebraska added its second runner-up team finish of the young season at their only home appearance of the 2017-18 campaign at the 2017 Chip-N Club Invitational at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln, Oct. 1-3. Senior Audrey Judd provided the Huskers with their first individual medalist honor of the season at the Chip-N Club.
The Huskers posted a top-10 team finish at the Pinehurst Challenge, Oct. 9-10, before closing the fall for the third consecutive season at the UNLV Collegiate Showdown in Boulder City, Nev., Oct. 22-24.
Nebraska opens its spring season at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic at Rio Mar CC in San Juan, Feb. 11-13, before competing for the seventh consecutive year at the Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, Ariz., Feb. 25-26.
The trip to Westbrook will be the first of three consecutive tournaments in Arizona, joining the Clover Cup in Mesa (March 16-18) and the Mountain View Invite in Tucson (March 23-25). It will be NU’s sixth straight trip to the Clover Cup, but the Huskers will be making their first appearance at Mountain View since 2014-15.
Nebraska heads to Maineville, Ohio, to compete at the Big Ten Championships, April 20-22, 2018. The Huskers will compete for the conference crown on the Arnold Palmer-designed Tournament Players Club River’s Bend Course, which will serve as the host to the conference tournament for the second straight season.
NCAA Regional competitions will be held in Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida State), Stanford, Calif. (Stanford), Austin, Texas (Texas) and Madison, Wis. (Wisconsin) May 7-9, before the NCAA Championships are held at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla., May 18-23.
Huskers Set Pace in Classroom
Nebraska leads the nation with 329 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 17 NCAA Top 10 Award winners across all sports. Nebraska women’s golf leads the nation with 71 WGCA Scholastic All-Americans since 1989.
Current Huskers Emily Gillman (2015, 2017), Annie Sritragul (2017) and Haley Thiele (2016) are the latest Huskers to claim spots on the WGCA’s prestigious academic team.
A trio of Huskers added academic All-Big Ten honors last season, led by Gillman, Audrey Judd and Sarah Pravecek. They were the only three Huskers eligible to win the awards last season.