Eight Iowa Conference championships
PELLA—Central College sophomore Kelsey Van Tasell (Pella) claimed medalist honors with a 3-shot margin for her first collegiate win at the women’s golf Central Spring Invitational Saturday.
Van Tasell fired a 79, two strokes off her career best, on the par-72 Bos Landen Golf Club.
“It’s great to see Kelsey turn in a solid round on a difficult course, especially after struggling last week,” coach Tim Wilkinson said. “Hopefully this will give her a lot of confidence going forward.”
The Dutch captured the team title by 12 strokes with 347. Simpson College took runner-up honors at 359 with Northwestern College (Iowa) third at 363.
“It’s always our goal to play well at home and the byproduct of that is to win the tournament,” Wilkinson said.
Sophomore Taylor Hill (Treynor) placed second in the 24-player field with 82.
“Taylor’s been battling a bit of a back issue so it was good to see her grind it out and put together a good score that helped the team,” Wilkinson said.
Senior Ashley Smith (Johnsburg, Ill.) tied for sixth with 88 while freshman Rachel Cassens (Stockton, Ill.) tied for 15th at 98 and freshman Chelsey Shuey (Ames) placed 17th with 99. Competing as individuals, freshman Jill Huffman (Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) shot 103 with freshman Emily Fisher (Wapello) at 107 and freshman Nichole Malott (Tipton) with 124.
The tourney, which was originally scheduled as 36 holes but shortened to one round because of heavy rain, concludes Central’s spring season. The Dutch return four starters and five letterwinners next fall, but graduate Smith, an all-league player and team co-captain.
“Ashley has steadily improved throughout her time at Central and we’ll miss her,” Wilkinson said. “One of the challenges for this year’s freshmen is finding someone to replace Ashley in the scoring average.”
Wilkinson hopes Saturday’s win acts as a springboard in the offseason.
“Our spring season has always been about preparing for the fall and it’s been difficult this year with the weather, but hopefully ending on a win will motivate the women to be dedicated to improving over the summer so we’re ready to go next fall.”