NORTHFIELD, Minn.—All season long, rookies Taylor Wells (Rochester, Minn./Century) and Gina Kabasakalis (Alameda, Calif./College Prep) have been rewriting the Carleton College women’s golf record book.
This spring, however, it’s been Kesley Moede (Lake Oswego, Ore.) who has been the Knights’ best player, and the Oregon rookie capped an amazing spring turnaround by firing her third straight sub-80 round, posting seven-over par 79 to finish tied for fourth in the weather-shortened Carleton Invitational.
Moede’s total helped the 19th-ranked Knights finish third at 335, topping No. 15 Wartburg and St. Benedict by eight shots and finishing only six shots back of No. 10 Gustavus Adolphus. No. 12 St. Olaf captured the team title at 320, powered by medalist Maxine Carlson’s tournament-record two-over par 74. Ole junior Molly Erickson tallied three birdies in the first six holes and ended at three-over par 75 to finish second, three shots clear of St. Benedict senior Kathryn Hauff at 78.
Moede, who finished solo second at last weekend’s Wartburg Invitational, ended up with an 80.0 stroke average this spring after posting an 86.27 average in the fall.
“Kelsey was just rock-solid again today,” Carleton head coach Eric Sieger said. “Her performance this spring was very eye-opening and bodes well for our program moving forward.”
Moede got off to a rough start, finding herself five-over par after the first three holes. She hit five of the final six greens on the outward nine, including hitting it tight on the par-4 sixth and par-3 seventh holes, rolling in short birdie putts on both holes.
The back nine started with a bit of adventure as well, as Moede hit her drive left into the trees and three-putted for a triple bogey. Again, the rookie displayed nerves of a veteran, responding with a nice par save on the par-3 eleventh, a birdie on the par-5 twelfth, then playing the final stretch of six holes in only two-over par.
Her classmates, however, struggled a bit again for the second straight weekend, as Wells and Kabakalis both posted 84s. The fourth member of Carleton’s first-year class—Sophia Roman (Portland, Ore./Catlin Gable)—was not able to play due to illness.
The other storyline of the day was the final home appearance for seniors Traci Johnson (Lakeville, Minn./North) and Kate Johnson (Wauwatosa, Wis./Wauwatosa East).
“It’s always bittersweet to see our seniors play their final rounds,” Sieger said. “It’s amazing how quickly those four years fly by, and we’re very excited as they move into their lives beyond Carleton. We’re so grateful of how much both Traci and Kate have given to our program--we’ve been so blessed that their families shared them with our College and our program.”
The Knights will find out whether or not their season will continue when NCAA Championships bids for teams and individuals are announced tomorrow evening.