COON RAPIDS, Minn. – The Carleton College women’s golf team placed all five players in the top 25 at the MIAC Championships, as the Knights finished fourth in the team competition with a 54-hole total of 1,040 strokes. Hope Keaney (So./San Anselmo, Calif./Marin Catholic) carded a final round eight-over par 80 and finished in a tie for 13th.
Carleton’s opening round 343 was the third-best score in program history at the conference championships. Carleton, however, was the only squad in the 10-team to see its scores increase with each progressive round at Bunker Hills Golf Course. The Knights were second after the first day, slipped to third after Sunday’s action, and were passed by College of Saint Benedict on the final day.
Gustavus Adolphus (974 strokes) ran away from the field, winning the event by 46 shots. St. Olaf (1,020), Saint Benedict (1,030), Carleton, and the University of St. Thomas (1,049) rounded out the top five.
Keaney’s stroke total of 257 was three better than her figure as a rookie last year, yet it also makes one wonder what might have been. She stumbled to an opening round 94, easily her worst round of the season. She bounced back with a second-round 83 and concluded the tournament with a season-best 80, which also tied for the fourth-best 18-hole score by any player during the course of the tournament. Keaney missed all-conference honors by just one stroke.
Traci Johnson (Jr./Lakeville, Minn./North) posted her best finish at the championship, as she tied for 17th with a three-day score of 261 strokes. She paced Carleton on day one by firing a season-low 10-over par 82 in the opening round, the second-best score of her career and the seventh-lowest in program history at the event. Johnson added scores of 87 on 92 on the final two days.
Seniors Louise Buckler (Blaine, Minn./St. Paul Academy) and Meghan Gajare (Kalamazoo, Mich./Portage Central/Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center) posted scores of 266, tied for 19th. Gajare opened with an 85, her best round of the season, and finished the tournament with an 89, tied for second-best this fall. Buckler registered a season-best 84 during the second round.
Laura Knutson (Edina, Minn.) began the tournament in fine fashion, as she sat inside the top 10 after carding an 84. The Knights’ leader in stroke average (85.1) entering the weekend, the senior slumped to scores of 92 and 93 in the final two rounds and finished 24th with a three-day total of 269.
The Knights are now off until the spring season.
Championship Notes: Keaney's final round is tied for the fourth-lowest conference tournament score in program history, in relation to par… The Knights' 1,040 total is the third-lowest conference tourney total in program history and only two shots off last year's effort… This marked the fourth MIAC Championships appearance for seniors Buckler and Knutson and third for Gajare (who missed last year's event while studying abroad). It marked the second top-20 for Buckler and Gajare and the fourth for Knutson. She is the first Knight to record four top-20 finishes at the MIAC Championships.