After just one tournament appearance this season, the Viterbo University women’s golf team has already made this a record-breaking year.
The V-Hawks opened the season last weekend in Rock Island, Ill., with an appearance at the Highland Classic. The V-Hawks took an early lead after the opening day with a score of 323, only two shots away from tying a team record score of 321, a mark that was achieved in 2015.
As Day 2 of the tournament unfolded, the V-Hawks stayed hot and turned in some of the best overall performances in program history as they finished the day with 308 strokes, soaring past the previous school record of 321. This accomplishment came as no surprise to Viterbo coach Ken Barrett.
“We really have the deepest team that we’ve ever been and have so many good players. Everybody is competing and cheering for each other,” said Barrett, who is beginning his 11th year with the V-Hawks. “Our chemistry is really good and a lot of positive things fell into place, which led to some great scores and a real fun day.”
The record-breaking weekend didn’t stop there, as senior Danielle Ducklow’s 3-under-par 69 set a Viterbo record for a single round. Ducklow’s effort shattered the previous mark of 73, set by Chelsey McCoy in 2010.
Ducklow, a Tomah High School graduate, has been on the All-NSAA first team the past two years and has led the V-Hawks’ 18-hole scoring average both years.
“It’s always nice when you can see all your hard work be rewarded. People we didn’t know were in line watching (Ducklow) golf and saying how excellent she played and what a classy gal she is helping the other golfers. It was really nice to see her get what she worked so hard to do,” Barrett said.
The V-Hawks are hoping to carry the momentum to their home course, the La Crosse Country Club, on Sunday and Monday when they host the Viterbo Invitational. With Ducklow earning the No. 1 spot, teammates Bailey Schmidt, Mattie Mahlum, and Maya Marshall will fill the following three spots, Barrett said.
Schmidt, a sophomore and Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School graduate, will fill the No. 2 spot after finishing fourth with rounds of 82 and 79 at the Mount Mercy Invitational.
“Our top four golfers are established and solid right now. We’re searching for a fifth spot and it’s one of the tougher decisions for the coaching staff to see who plays fifth each week,” Barrett said. “Hopefully come conference, we’ll have established that in the lineup.”
With another tournament around the corner comes more competition, including some that the V-Hawks are unfamiliar with including UW-Platteville and St. Ambrose. But with a familiar course and strong golfing, Barrett hopes to see his team play well for the second week in a row.
“Some days that hole looks like a basketball and other times it looks like threading a needle. We’re hoping it continues to be a basketball hoop,” Barrett said.
“I’m also hoping the fact that it’s a home meet we’ll have that advantage. I have high expectations and we’ll be competitive in every match. We’ll do our best and compete in hopes to come out on top.”