Camaraderie catapults women’s golf

Jennifer Pederson strikes the ball at the Golden Bear Invite, September 14 in St. Paul.

Jennifer Pederson strikes the ball at the Golden Bear Invite, September 14 in St. Paul.

Kaylyn Deiter

With a decisive 32-stroke victory, the Augustana women’s golf team opened the 2014-2015 season in their traditional successful fashion, relying on both the consistency of experience and the spark of fresh talent to secure the win.

In a field of 56 competitors, the Augustana women finished with five golfers in the top 10 and six golfers in the top 15.

“I was very happy with the weekend,” head coach Peggy Kirby said. “The team is very committed to playing their best, and they stayed positive until the finish.”

Junior Marisa Toivonen earned her first collegiate individual medalist honor, shooting a 36-hole score of 145. Viking freshmen Emily Israelson, Sierra Langlie and Kali Trautman followed close behind, finishing in second and tying for third, respectively.

Assistant coach Patty Coddington said she was thrilled with the strong freshmen performances.

“The freshman class is so dedicated to the team and golf, and they have gelled together so well with the upperclassmen,” she said. “That is also a tribute to the upperclassmen, because they have worked to make everyone feel welcomed and a part of the team. We always say there is not an ‘I’ in team, and that is so very true of this group.”

Israelson said, at first, she was nervous for her collegiate tournament debut.

“The course played really hard, and I just tried my best and did not give up,” she said. “It was exciting to get a second-place individual finish for my first tournament, but I was more happy that our team played so well.”

According to Toivonen, the freshmen bring a whole new dynamic to the team.

“It is so much fun to have a team as successful as we are because we get to compete against the best golfers in the region every day, allowing us to continue to get better and push each other,” Toivonen said.

After the resounding success of their opening tournament, the team cited several goals for the still young season.

“I hope we can stay in the moment and play our best at each event,” Kirby said. “Focused practices, working hard on our short games and continuing to work towards confidence in our games will also be key factors toward consistent success.”

According to sophomore Jordan Bormann the team collectively hopes to make it to the national championship.

“To accomplish this goal, our team will have to put in the time at practice,” she said. “Because we have 10 people on the team, everyone is fighting for one of the five traveling spots, which makes everyone work their hardest everyday. The team gets along great, and we enjoy being together.”

Kirby said her team has a rare camaraderie on and off the golf course.

“They all get along so well,” she said. “They have fun together and will continue to challenge one another to be their best.”