The Summit League men have been playing its golf championships at Sand Creek Station for several years, so it was finally the women’s turn for the nine-team Midwest-based conference to come to town Sunday and Monday.
After 36 holes of play, the Denver Pioneers are in the lead, while two DU individuals also top the leader board.
Denver trailed by a stroke after the first round, but pulled into an eight-stroke lead in the second. The Pioneers have a team score of 623 (the four best scores of each round), followed by South Dakota at 631 and Oral Roberts at 633. Sunday’s leader, South Dakota State, slipped into fourth place at 635. North Dakota State was fifth at 651.
Mary Weinstein of Denver leads the individual race with an 8-over par 152. She finished Monday’s round with a 2-over 74, tying for the top score of the day.
Sophie Newlove of Denver was second at 153.
“We were one stroke back to South Dakota State and now have an eight-stroke lead over South Dakota,” Denver coach Lindsay Kuhle said. “We finished well today. We had confidence today, and our top players finished really low. Mary Weinstein was 2-under her last 11. Sophie Newlove was 1 under her last seven. Camille Enright was even her last 10. When the wind picked up on the harder holes, we really played well on those last holes.”
Each of the first two rounds were played in windy conditions. Temperatures were in the 80s Sunday and the 60s Monday.
“The wind was down today by 20 to 30 miles per hour,” Kuhle said. “It was still a bit gusty. We’re used to the cooler temperatures, so this was like home to us. I think we were able to finish a little more confident.”
It was the first time the Pioneers played a tournament at Sand Creek Station. The team did play a practice round there earlier in the season.
“I’ve heard stories about this place and how the weather can affect the play,” Kuhle said. “We’re excited to play. It’s a great test. We really just stayed confident and stayed on top.”
Denver entered the tournament as the runner-up behind North Dakota State. Both teams were NCAA qualifiers last year.
Weinstein got off to a rough start in the second round, going 4-over par on the first six holes. She came back with birdies on eight and nine and played par for the back nine.
“It is definitely playing a lot better than yesterday, and I think the team is playing a lot harder,” Weinstein said. “I’m a little sick right now, so it’s been a struggle on the course with coughing.”
A junior from Highland Ranch, Colo., she has five top-10 finishes this season and tied for fourth in the conference last season.
“I just want to come out and play the best that I can,” Weinstein said. “I want to represent DU as best as I can.”
Weinstein was carrying a golf bag honoring Gunner’s Mate Second Class Danny Dietz, a U.S. Navy Seal killed in action in the Battle of Abbas Ghar in Afghanistan. The team is participating in the Folds of Honor program.
“That’s such an honor,” Weinstein said. “He was part of the Operation Red Wings, if you ever read Marcus Luttrell’s book ‘Lone Survivor,’ he’s one of the people who passed away in that operation. He’s from Littleton, Colo. We’re doing the Folds of Honor and carrying his bag. At the end of the season, we’re going to raise money and donate this bag to his family. The rest of the money is going to Folds of Honor.”
Newlove birdied on four, then went 5-over on the next seven holes. She finished the round 1-under.
“Today was a lot easier than yesterday,” Newlove said. “The wind was a lot better. Even a 20 mile-per-hour wind felt like nothing. I hit the ball a lot better than yesterday. I’m from England, so I’m used to the (cooler) weather. I liked the conditions.”
Newlove is the defending conference medalist. She is a senior from Nottingham, England. She has three top-10 finishes this season.
“We came here in September and played here. It’s definitely playing easier than when we came down then. (The third round) is going to be a fight. We will be thinking about the team, as well as ourselves.”
Teresa Toscano of South Dakota State was third at 154, followed by Laerke Jensen of South Dakota in fourth at 155. Isabellla Caarmal of Oral Roberts and Abbie Carlsen of Purdue Fort Wayne are tied for fifth at 156.
Eight strokes separate the top 15 going into Tuesday’s final round.
Megan Munneke of South Dakota shot a hole-in-one on the 157-yard 13th hole to pull into a tie for seventh at 158. She followed her ace with a birdie on 14, a bogey on 15 and a birdie on 16. She finished the day at 77.
“I had a six-iron in my hand, and it was right-to-left wind,” Munneke said. “I was like, I just have to aim towards the shack behind the hole. It just went exactly to the right side and then trickled down in. It was my first one ever. Especially to have it at the Summit League championships is an unbelievable experience. It was pretty cool to have that.
“My dad saw it. He went bonkers. It’s something I will never forget.”
Munneke is a freshman from Champlin, Minn.
“This was my first time (at Sand Creek),” she said. “Yesterday was really windy, but today it was a different atmosphere. Just being out here was really cool. … We’re going to go lower tomorrow and win the thing.”
The final round of play starts at 8 a.m. today. The top team and top individual receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I regionals beginning May 6 at one of four sites.
Women’s Golf Championships
Sunday and Monday
Sand Creek Station
South Dakota State;321-314—635
North Dakota State;328-323—651
Purdue Fort Wayne;323-332—655
1. Mary Weinstein Den.;78-74—152
2. Sophie Newlove Den.;78-75—153
3. Teresa Toscano SDS;74-80—154
4. Laerke Jensen SD;81-74—155
T5. Isabella Caamal ORU;81-75—156
T5. Abbie Carlsen PFW;77-79—156
T7. Jenna Janu ND;78-80—158
T7. Zora Gittens Om.;80-78—158
T7. Taylor McCorkle NDS;75-83—158
T7. Megan Munneke SD;81-77—158
T11. Mia Seeman SDS;83-76—159
T11. Sarah Bell ORU;79-80—159
T13. Emma Sabbagh SD;81-79—160
T13. Megan Lee ORU;84-76—160
T15. Lexi Petersen SD;80-81—161
T15. Sydney Bormann SDS;85-76—161
T15. Alyson Bean Den.;82-79—161
18. Rachel Dupree ORU;85-77—162
19. Trussy Li Den.;84-79—163
T20. Maddie Herzog NDS;86-78—164
T20. Hanna Peterson ND;83-81—164
T22. Emma Groom NDS;83-82—165
T22. Katie Bartlett SD;87-78—165
T22. Linnzie Richner PFW;79-86—165
T22. Katie McTaggart WI;81-84—165
T22. Cassidy Laidlaw SDS;83-82—165
T27. Holly Anderson PFW;81-85—166
T27. Nicole Hamilton-Cross WI;83-83—166
T27. Beatriz Garcia ORU;81-85—166
T27. Lani Potter SDS;81-85—166
T31. Sierra Bennion NDS;84-83—167
T31. Mandy Boyle Om.;81-86—167
T31. Hannah Hunke Om.;80-87—167
T34. Jordan York Om.;87-81—168
T34. Ashlyn Guggisberg ND;87-81—168
T34. Camille Enright Den.;95-73—168
T37. Mariah Peters WI;90-79—169
T37. Ally Rogers ND;83-86—169
T37. Alexis Thomas NDS;89-80—169
T37. Emily Marrs WI;86-83—169
T41. Abby Schramel ND;85-85—170
T41. Emma Schroeder PFW;86-84—170
T43. Cassidy Jurkaites WI;84-88—172
T43. Paige Bird PFW;88-84—172
45. Sami Langford Om.;90-85—175