Huskers Open Season with 2009 Chip-N Club
The Nebraska women’s golf team opens its 2009-10 campaign by playing host to its annual Chip-N Club Invitational at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln, Sept. 14-15.
The 54-hole tournament tees off with 14 teams hitting the course on Monday, Sept. 14, with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. The teams will play 36 holes on Monday, before concluding the two-day event with the final 18 holes on Tuesday, Sept. 15, with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.
Nebraska will be looking to defend its 2008 Chip-N Club Invitational title on the 6,214-yard, par-72 layout at Wilderness Ridge. The Huskers posted a four-shot win over Arkansas-Little Rock, who returns to contend again for the title. UALR’s Sara Wickstrom won individual medalist honors with a three-round score of 214, just one stroke ahead of Nebraska’s Mary Kate Bird who fired a career-best 215.
Overall, Nebraska placed four individuals in the top 10 a year ago, including a fifth-place finish from JC Stevenson, and eighth-place ties for Charlotte Wendner and Kate White.
Nebraska has won five of the past six Chip-N Club Invites, and has claimed the last four crowns when the tournament has been held at Wilderness Ridge.
The Huskers will welcome a talented 14-team field to Lincoln, including fellow Big 12 North schools Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. In addition to the Big 12 contingent, Creighton, Illinois State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa and Wichita State will represent the Missouri Valley Conference, while North Dakota State and South Dakota State come from the Summit League. UALR and Arkansas State will represent the Sun Belt Conference, while Sacramento State will journey the farthest to Lincoln as a representative of the Big Sky.
2009 Chip-N Club Invitational
Location: Wilderness Ridge Golf Course - Lincoln, Neb.
Shotgun Start Both Days - Monday, Sept. 14 (36) 9 a.m. - Tuesday, Sept. 15 (18) 8:30 a.m.
Mary Kate Bird
NU Individuals: Carolyn Schorgl, Maddie Sheils, Erin Sharpee, Kayla Knopik
Chip-N Club Invitational Field
Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas State, Creighton, Illinois State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Missouri State, Nebraska, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Sacramento State, South Dakota State, Wichita State
Live Scoring: GolfStat.com
Huskers Return Experienced Nucleus for 2009-10
Nebraska brings back a solid core of returning players for the 2009-10 campaign, led by seniors JC Stevenson and Charlotte Wendner. Stevenson is the most experienced Husker as a fixture in Nebraska’s starting lineup for the past three seasons. The Grand Island, Neb., native has competed in 105 career rounds and owns 15 career top-20 finishes. She capped her junior season with a tie for 20th at the 2009 Big 12 Championships.
Wendner, a native of Bjarred, Sweden, owns a pair of top-20 finishes at the Big 12 Championships in her career, including a tie for 10th to earn All-Big 12 honors in 2009. She has played in 67 rounds for the Huskers and owns eight career top-25 effort.
Stevenson and Wendner are joined near the top of Nebraska’s lineup by junior Mary Kate Bird and sophomore Natalie Gleadall. Bird produced the Huskers’ top stroke average a year ago, but missed the Big 12 Championships with a wrist injury. Bird, who took runner-up honors as Nebraska’s top finisher at the 2008 Chip-N Club Invitational, produced four top-25 finishes a year ago.
Gleadall provided a steady hand in Nebraska’s lineup as a true freshman. The Stratford, Ontario, Canada native played all 33 rounds for the Huskers and produced NU’s fourth-best stroke average. Her average ranked as the fourth-best freshman stroke average in school history, and she provided a pair of top-10 tournament finishes. She also tied the school record with a career-best 67 at the UNLV Spring Invitational.
Wendner Captures All-Big 12 Championship Honors
Charlotte Wendner earned the first conference honors of her career by tying for 10th place at the Big 12 Championships in Lubbock, Texas, April 24-26. The top 10 finishers earned spots on the All-Big 12 Championship Team.
Wendner capped her junior season with rounds of 75, 73 and 84 to finish at 232 on the par-73, 6,564-yard layout of the Rawls Course. Wendner headed into the final round of the tournament in a tie for third place at 148.
It was Wendner’s second straight top-20 finish at the Big 12 Championships, after taking 18th place at Oklahoma State in 2008. In her career, Wendner owns eight top-25 finishes, including four top-10 efforts. She has added a solid 78.99 career stroke average in 67 rounds entering her senior season.
In addition to her honors on the course, Wendner also captured first-team academic All-Big 12 accolades for the second consecutive season and was a 2009 NGCA Scholastic All-American.
Senior Stevenson Solid Near Top of Husker Lineup
JC Stevenson hopes to put the finishing touches on a solid Nebraska career as a senior in 2009-10. The Grand Island, Neb., native has competed in 105 rounds for the Huskers and owns a strong 77.96 career stroke average.
The veteran of NU’s lineup, Stevenson owns 15 career top-20 finishes, including five career top-10 showings. She posted her best effort at the 2007 Edwin Watts/Palmetto Invitational when she won the tournament with a career-best 216, including two career-best rounds of 70.
A three-time NGCA Scholastic All-American and a two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 performer, Stevenson tied for 20th at the 2009 Big 12 Championships. She is expected to contend for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors this season.
Bird Hopes to Fly High, Stay Healthy in 2009-10
Mary Kate Bird was Nebraska’s leader during the 2009 spring campaign and was gaining momentum heading down the stretch until suffering a wrist injury in the first round of the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational on April 18.
As a sophomore, Bird produced three top-10 finishes in 2008-09, including a tie for ninth at the Mountain View Collegiate in Tucson, Ariz., March 28-29. Bird fired a three-round total of 217, after tying for eighth place (222) at the Edwin Watts/Kiawah Island Classic, Feb. 22-24. She opened the year with the best finish of her career by taking second with a career-best 215 at NU’s Chip-N Club Invitational, Sept. 15-16.
Bird finished with Nebraska’s best stroke average (76.68) on the season, but was unable to compete at the Big 12 Championships because of the injury. It marked the second straight season that Bird missed the Big 12 Championships, after sitting out the conference tournament with the flu as a freshman.
However, she did earn academic All-Big 12 recognition at the end of the season and was named one of Nebraska’s 30 student-athlete Hero Award winners in 2009.
Bird enters her junior season with 40 rounds of experience at Nebraska. She owns a 77.88 career stroke average with six career top-25 finishes, including three top-10 showings.
Bird’s team-best 76.68 stroke average in 2008-09, represented a three-plus stroke improvement from her freshman average of 79.87.
Sophomore Gleadall Shooting for Strong Second Season
Although she is entering just her second season at Nebraska, Natalie Gleadall heads into 2009-10 as one of NU’s most experienced golfers. The sophomore from Stratford, Ontario, Canada competed in all 33 rounds for the Huskers last season and produced an impressive 78.64 stroke average.
Gleadall’s true freshman campaign was highlighted by a school-record-tying 67 in the second round of the UNLV Spring Invitational. Her record round helped her to a tie for sixth with a career-best 219 at UNLV and was one of two top-10 finishes on the season.
Gleadall finished her freshman season with five top-35 finishes, including a tie for 22nd at her career-opening Chip-N Club Invitational. She also tied for seventh at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational in the second event of her career.
She finished with NU’s fourth-best stroke average on the season, which also ranked as the No. 4 stroke average by a freshman in Nebraska history.
Husker Strengths Include Strong Supporting Cast
Nebraska’s enters the 2009-10 women’s golf season with four proven scorers near the top of its lineup, but the Huskers also feature solid depth from the other five players on the roster.
Junior Rachel Hanigan, a two-year letterwinner from Dunlap, Iowa, has competed in 32 rounds during her first three years at Nebraska. As a third-year sophomore in 2008-09, Hanigan competed in 27 rounds for the Huskers and managed an 80.63 stroke average. The first-team academic All-Big 12 performer before posted her first career top-20 finish with a tie for 18th at the McHaney/Morehead Invitational. She added a career-best 231 at last year’s season-opening Chip-N Club Invitational.
A 2009 NGCA Scholastic All-American, Hanigan tied for 38th in a 60-player field at the Big 12 Championships as a sophomore.
Sophomore Maddie Sheils also enters the 2009-10 season with Big 12 Tournament experience under her belt. As a true freshman a year ago, Sheils competed in 18 rounds and managed an 83.17 stroke average. She was called into action at the Big 12 Championships after Mary Kate Bird suffered a wrist injury at the Lady Buckeye Invitational in NU’s regular-season finale.
Sheils gave the Huskers a lift with an opening-round 79 in Lubbock, Texas, before settling for 58th place (253) in her first Big 12 Tournament. Off the course, Sheils showed her ability by earning NGCA Scholastic All-America honors.
Although they don’t have an abundance of tournament experience, sophomores Kayla Knopik and Carolyn Schorgl have experienced success in their young Husker careers. Knopik, a third-year player from Papillion, Neb., won the Nebraska Women’s Match Play title during the summer, knocking off JC Stevenson in the final, after defeating 17-time state champion Susan Marchese in the semifinals and former All-Big Eight performer Jane (Deeter) Pohlmann in the quarters. Last season, Knopik fired a career-best 73 in the opening round of the Chip-N Club and finished in a tie for 37th (233). She also competed at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invite and finished the year with an 82.83 stroke average.
Schorgl, a true freshman a year ago, produced a solid 79.29 stroke average while competing in three events. She opened the season by tying for 33rd (232) at the Chip-N Club Invite, before tying for 35th at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational. She traveled with the Huskers to the Aztec Spring Invitational, but managed just one round before poor weather forced all individuals in the tournament to withdraw.
Sharpee Lone Freshman on Husker Roster
One of the top prep golfers in the state of Wisconsin over the past three seasons, Erin Sharpee comes to Nebraska after an outstanding high school and amateur career. The Green Bay native earned first-team All-Wisconsin honors in the fall of 2008, after taking second-team all-state accolades in both 2006 and 2007. She powered Green Bay Notre Dame to three straight Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association team titles, including a 630 for the best team score in WIAA state tournament history in 2008.
In July of 2008, Sharpee captured the Wisconsin PGA Junior Championship in the girls 13-18 division with a three-under-par 141 over 36 holes. She also competed in the championship flight of the Women’s Western National Junior Championship.
Huskers Continue to Set the Pace in the Classroom
Four Huskers captured NGCA Scholastic All-America honors in 2009, pushing Nebraska’s nation-leading total to 54 since 1989. JC Stevenson earned the third NGCA Scholastic All-America honor of her career, while Charlotte Wendner, Rachel Hanigan and Maddie Sheils all claimed the honor for the first time in their careers.
In addition to Nebraska’s NGCA Scholastic All-America success, five Huskers earned first-team academic All-Big 12 honors in 2009. Stevenson, Wendner, Hanigan, Mary Kate Bird and Megan Place all claimed spots on Big 12’s top academic team. Stevenson, Wendner and Place all earned first-team honors for the second time in their careers, while Hanigan and Bird were first-time honorees.
Nebraska’s academic success is nothing new. In 2006-07, the Husker women’s golf team produced the fifth-best team grade-point-average of any collegiate women’s golf team in the nation.