Golf tees off on successful fall season

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Golf tees off on successful fall season

By Drew Lawson, Sports Editor

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Sports like football, basketball and hockey may garner most of the attention at EWU, but this fall, one of the most successful Eagle teams can be found on the links. 

The EWU golf team consists of seven members: seniors Madalyn Ardueser, Ashley Ohland and Megan Ohland, junior Alexa Clark, sophomore Jaelin Ishikawa and freshmen Morgan Baum and Stephanie Heimler. The Eagles are coached by Brenda Howe in her 11th season. 

Howe said the team has excellent chemistry.

“It’s rare for an entire team to get along with zero drama,” Howe said. “This shows on the course.”

EWU competed in four tournaments this fall, earning one team win and two indvidual victories.At The Battle at Old Works in Anaconda, MT on Sept. 16 and 17, the Eagles finished second as a team while Ardueser finished first individually. EWU had 888 strokes, a program record for a three-round tournament. 

The Eagles’ second tournament of the year came at The Rose City Collegiate on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Ardueser finished first individually for the second straight tournament, and EWU finished fifth overall as a team. 

EWU won the Griz Match Play Challenge hosted by the University of Montana in Missoula on Oct. 4 and 5. The Eagles beat Idaho State University 5-0 on Oct. 4 with wins from Ardueser, Baum, Clark, Heimler and Megan Ohland. EWU then defeated Montana on Oct. 5 3-2 behind victorious efforts from Ardueser, Clark and Heimler. 

EWU’s final tournament was the Pat Lesser Harbottle Invitational in Lakewood. EWU finished sixth as a team. Ardueser and Heimler tied for 10th to rank highest amongst the Eagles. 

Despite the strong start, Howe said the team is still searching for consistency.

“We need to have better scores from our 3-5 players,” Howe said. “It’s great to have one or two players perform well, but golf is a team sport and having a consistent five scores is what will separate us from other teams.”

Howe said it’s to early to tell if this will be EWU’s best team since she’d been at the helm.

“We’re definitely on track to beat our scoring average from last year, but it is extremely early,” Howe said. “Making an assumption based on two tournaments is a little difficult.”

The Easterner spoke with three of EWU’s key contributors: Ardueser, Clark and Baum. Each shared what they think makes this team click and how they personally got into golf:

 Ardueser: Golfer for life

Ardueser said she was practically born with golf clubs in her hands, as she has watched tournaments with her dad since she was a baby. 

“I’ve always had a natural admiration of the game and a drive to be the best,” Ardueser said. “My dreams of one day being a professional golfer and positively impacting the lives of kids … has always inspired me to keep playing.”

Ardueser believes her biggest area of growth since she arrived at EWU has been confidence. The senior said she suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, depression and panic attacks. Despite those obstacles, she believes she’s grown as a person and a player in college.

“By learning how to be confident, I’m in a much better state now compared to when I first got here at the age of 17,” Ardueser said. 

Ardueser was involved in a program called First Tee as a child, which she credits with learning important life skills. She said the most impactful of those skills was perseverance.

“Little did I know I would have to apply (perseverance) so heavily to my life,” Ardueser said. “I told myself that nothing could stop me from achieving my dreams, so here I am and here I’ll stay.”

 

 It’s rare for an entire team to get along with zero drama. This shows on the course.

– Brenda Howe, EWU head coach

 

 Clark: Developing a calm demeanor

Clark is the all-time leading scorer in program history. She said she’s grown to become more calm on the course.

“I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself to do well,” Clark said. “I still have bad rounds but I have improved on letting go of the shots I can’t take back.” 

Clark said the biggest obstacle she’s overcome has been learning to ignore people who didn’t believe in her.

“I had to learn to believe in myself,” Clark said. “I think if I had let the things people said get to me then I probably wouldn’t be where I am.”

Clark thinks highly of the team this year. She said the next step for the team is to realize how good they can be.

“I think we just need to realize … how capable we are of rising to the top and being comfortable here,” Clark said.

Baum: Confident in the team

Baum comes to EWU by way of Yakima. She started golfing with her grandparents at a young age and decided to become an Eagle during her junior year of high school. 

“(I) fell in love with the campus and how close it was to Spokane,” Baum said. “Making the decision to come to EWU was easy.”

Baum said adjusting to college athletics has been different from anything she’s experienced, but she is very confident in her team.

“We had a really great start in our fall season,” Baum said. “I know that we’re going to bring that same energy and determination into our spring season.”

EWU starts its spring season on Feb. 22 at the Grand Canyon Invitational in Phoenix. 

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