NORTHFIELD, Minn.--Rookies Shannon Holden (Simi Valley, Calif./Royal) and Geraldine Tellbuescher (Ashiya, Japan/Canadian Academy) both finished in the top five and junior Taylor Wells (Jr./Rochester, Minn./Century) notched her second top-10 finish of the spring season as No. 17 Carleton notched its first win of the season, finishing on top at the Carleton Invitational with a 335 team score.
The win came against a small but elite field that featured three other ranked teams in an event shortened to one round by poor weather conditions. The Knights' score outdistanced No. 21 Gustavus at 341 and No. 15 St. Thomas' 343. WIAC defending champion UW-Eau Claire, paced by medalist Kate Engler's sparkling five-over par 77, finished fourth at 346. St. Benedict ended fifth at 349 while St. Olaf and No. 24 Wartburg tied for sixth with 356. Jordan Drenttel of Gustavus and Erin Dingmann of St. Thomas matched Holden at 81, finishing in a three-way tie for second.
Holden finish was her fifth top-five finish of the season, while Tellbuescher's 10-over par 82 lifted her inside the top five for the third straight time this spring. Wells added an 85 to finish tied for eighth for her second top-10 finish of the spring season.
The field battled 20 mile-per-hour winds and cold conditions on Saturday before a stray, unpredicted thunderstorm produced a lightening delay at 6:50 p.m. that ended up lasting about an hour, necessitating suspension of round one due to darkness. The 15 players who didn't finish on Saturday were able to find a window of time without thunder and lightening and completed the first round on Sunday morning, but thunderstorms and cold, windy conditions canceled the second round.
"It was just a brutal day yesterday," Carleton head coach Eric Sieger said of play on Saturday. "We've had less-than-ideal conditions this spring, but those were maybe the toughest we've faced. I thought we battled hard the entire round and overcame some bad holes and some bad swings. Still, I know the girls were disappointed we didn't have a lower score despite the conditions."
Grace Gilmore (So./Edina, Minn.) rebounded from a rough front nine to end at 87, as did Kelsey Moede (Jr./Lake Oswego, Ore.), who was eight shots lower on her final nine. Emily Huang (Fy./Cypress, Calif./Fairmont Preparatory Academy) paced Carleton's three individuals in her collegiate debut, posting a 95.
The result helps the Knights' NCAA at-large bid hopes, giving them another head-to-head win over Gustavus and its first over St. Thomas, as well as its first victory of the season.
"We know we still have two rounds left next weekend at Eau Claire and it will be important for us to stay focused, but to pick up a win against a field of that caliber certainly is a good thing," Sieger said.
The Knights close out the season at the BluGold Spring Invitational at Wild Ridge Golf Club on Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4. The Knights posted a 322 on that track in the first event of the season, the low score that day by five shots. NCAA Championships selections will be announced on Monday, May 5.