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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Badgers to host Lady Northern

Coming off one of its best performances in school history, the Wisconsin women’s golf team is set to host its first home tournament this season, as all 11 Big Ten schools will compete in the Lady Northern Invitational at University Ridge this weekend.

While four additional teams will participate in the tournament, this weekend’s results will be an early indication of which are the top teams in the Big Ten.

The Badgers first tournament of the season — the Cougar Classic in Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 13 — was heralded by head coach Todd Oehrlein as “a great success.”

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“I thought we had an excellent weekend,” Oehrlein said. “We set a number of scoring records, had very balanced, consistent scores and, overall, it was a great start to the season.”

UW carried Oehrlein’s feelings, as the Badgers strung together three consecutive sub-300 rounds for the first time in school history, spurring them to a sixth-place finish out of a nationally competitive 18-team field.

Along with the 54-hole, school-record 878 stroke total, sophomore Jessie Gerry finished tied for seventh place with a 2-under-par 214. The mark topped her own 54-hole school record she set as a freshman last September when she won the Badger Golf Invitational.

According to Oehrlein, the team’s success at the Cougar Classic was no fluke but was rather a result of what he attributes to an “outstanding offseason.”

“I think the players worked hard this summer,” Oehrlein said. “You know, they played a lot, got themselves in a bunch of good, competitive events and we even had two girls qualify for amateur nationals.”

Oehrlein is excited about the balance his squad brings to the golf course this year, and according to Monday’s press conference, that balance leads him to believe this team is “potentially the best” he’s ever had.

A key member of the team is veteran leader Kelsey Verbeten, a senior who was one of the two women’s amateur qualifiers from the 2008-09 season. She brings the fifth-best scoring average in school history into a season full of goals and expectations.

“I thought my offseason was pretty productive,” Verbeten said about her fall preparation. “I stayed injury-free, worked on a few swing changes and played in quite a few events with some good finishes.”

While the Badgers have started strong this year, Verbeten is excited for the team to finally match up against Big Ten opponents this weekend.

“Basically, I think we just want to go out and put together three good rounds,” she said. “We’ve played well so far, and, hopefully, we will be able to carry that momentum through this weekend.”

Verbeten leads a group of returning scorers, including the top five from last year’s event. The Badgers have a veteran group this year as Verbeten and four other seniors add to a handful of talented underclassmen.

The Badgers will play host at the Big Ten Championship later this season and are thrilled to be playing at home on their new-and-improved course on Sunday as a preview for the conference championship. The team hopes to keep the ball rolling through this weekend and is looking to come out confident and satisfied with the tournament.

Until the rainy weather comes in in the next two days, the local University Ridge Course is in peak condition, which brings additional excitement to the event.

The players are set to tee off at 8:30 on Sunday morning with the weather calling for blue skies and 75-degree weather.

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