Story by NU Athletic Communications
Michaela Vavrova fired a final-round 68 (-4) to shatter her career-best tournament score with a 205 (-11) on her way to a tie for fifth to lead the Nebraska women's golf team at the Sam Golden Invitational on Tuesday.
Vavrova, a senior from Bojnice, Slovakia, carded five birdies and 12 pars along with just one bogey to complete an outstanding overall tournament that featured 16 birdies, 34 pars, three bogeys and a double-bogey over 54 holes. She finished with the third-best individual tournament total in Nebraska history. Vavrova's 205, which smashed her previous collegiate career-best 216 (E) at the 2023 Westbrook Spring Invitational (Feb. 26-27), trailed only school-record totals of 202 by Kate Smith at the 2018 Westbrook Spring Invitational and Kelli Ann Strand on her way to winning last year's season-opening Green Wave Classic.
Strand added a final-round 71 (-1) to close her Sam Golden Invitational at 209 (-7). The sophomore from Challis, Idaho was Nebraska's No. 2 finisher in a tie for 13th in the 71-player field.
Following an opening day filled with low scores over 36 holes, only Vavrova and Strand managed rounds better than par for the Huskers on Tuesday. Nebraska closed the tournament with an even-par 288 to slip down the team standings into a tie for fifth at 844 (-20) in a 12-team tournament field that featured seven 2023 NCAA Regional qualifiers.
Houston ran away with the team title by posting a sizzling 268 (-20) in the final round to finish at 816 (-48), marking the fourth-best three-round team score in NCAA women's golf history, trailing only an 804 (-60) by Iowa State at the 2023 Mountain View College (March 17-19), and a pair of 814 (-50) scores by Stanford at the 2023 NCAA West Regional and the Cardinal at the Gunrock Invitational (Feb. 28-March 1, 2022). Houston's final round tied for the eighth-best team round in NCAA history. The Cougars finished 13 strokes ahead of the hosts from second-place North Texas at 829 (-35). UTSA took third at 837 (-27), while Missouri closed in fourth place at 843 (-21), one shot ahead of Nebraska and Tulsa at 844 (-20).
Houston also claimed the top two individual spots in the tournament led by medalist Ellen Yates, who finished at 202 (-14), including a final-round 66 (-6). Teammate Nicole Abelar tied for second at 204 (-12) alongside UTSA's Daniela Abonce and Tulsa's Allyn Stephens as the only golfers to finish ahead of Nebraska's Vavrova.
Junior Miu Takahashi (Nasu-machi, Japan) produced Nebraska's No. 3 score on Tuesday with a 74 to close her tournament in a tie for 54th at 220 (+4). Freshman Arden Louchheim (Park City, Utah) rounded out Nebraska's final-round team score with a 75 to conclude her first collegiate tournament in a tie for 45th at 218 (+2).
Junior Lena Hassert (Kreuzau, Germany) completed the best tournament of her college career in a tie for 35th at 215 (-1), despite a final-round 76 (+4).
Senior Lindsey Thiele (Wahoo, Neb.) rounded out the Husker contingent in a tie for 52nd at 219 (+3) that included a even-par 72 in the third round while playing as an individual outside Nebraska's lineup.
Nebraska returns to action next week at the Mary Fossum Invitational (Sept. 17-18) at Forest Akers West Golf Course in East Lansing, Mich.