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Waldorf captures Graceland Invitational championship

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

MARYVILLE, Mo. – Winning a tournament championship was on the agenda for the Waldorf University women’s golf team heading into the spring.

With one competition of the spring campaign complete, the Warriors have already accomplished that feat by capturing first place in this weekend’s Graceland Invitational.

“We’re going to have to reevaluate our goals,” Waldorf coach Mark Clouse said. “We’ve already achieved one with a tournament title early in the season.”

The Warriors closed out the two-day tournament on Saturday with a 36-hole team score of 716 strokes.

Fernanda Valdes led the charge for Waldorf, tying for second place with a 167-stroke finish. It was the 17th consecutive top-10 performance for the sophomore from Morelia, Mexico as she fired rounds of 79 and 88 on the par-72 layout at Mozingo Lake Golf Course.

Valdes held onto first place with a three-stroke lead following the opening round. Rain and less than favorable weather presented a challenge during the final day of the tournament.

“She definitely was right there to win the overall tournament,” Clouse said. “It was cold [on Saturday] and there were difficult conditions. She was right there contending for the title.”

Sophomore Hallie Hauer made her debut for the Warriors and secured fifth place with a 170 after carding back-to-back rounds of 85.

“That’s really good to see,” Clouse said. “She adds a lot of depth to our women’s squad.”

Waldorf junior Maggie Peters claimed 12th, shooting a 182 on rounds of 88 and 94.

Competing as an individual for the Warriors, sophomore Trinity Hill took 15th with a 184 as she turned in a pair of 92-stroke rounds. Sophomore Kailee Ward placed 25th with a 197 following rounds of 100 and 97. Freshman Haleigh Biernacki tied for 30th, turning in a 203 on rounds of 104 and 99 while freshman Mckenzie Fahrni finished 40th with a 229 on rounds of 122 and 107.

Waldorf completed the opening round with a team score of 352 and followed with a 364. The Warriors held off Baker University (719) and Des Moines Area Community College (719) by three strokes to claim the tournament championship.  Park University (736) placed fourth while Peru State College (745), Baker’s junior varsity (795) and Lindenwood University-Belleville (804) completed the team standings.

DMACC’s Ashley Dumler secured the individual title with a 163 behind rounds of 85 and 78.

Everyone played their part to help the Warriors come out on top in what proved to be a strong start to the spring season.

“Having somebody that’s contending for the title and another player in the top five, that’s really key, but consistency throughout the lineup is how you’re going to contend to win events like this,” Clouse said. “I know that we can do even better, but to come away with a win right out of the gate is really good.”

Waldorf faces NCAA Division III’s Iowa Wesleyan University next Sunday in an 11:30 a.m. dual meet at Fort Madison. The Warriors also compete in the Iowa Wesleyan Invitational on April 4 at Fort Madison, teeing off at 9 a.m.

“We’ve got a few days between now and then,” Clouse said. “We’ve got some time to practice and get ready.”