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Rutgers holds its own in Missouri

<p>Rutgers placed second behind Gabrielle Sacheli's leading performance. The senior finished in 38th place for the Knights.</p>

Rutgers placed second behind Gabrielle Sacheli's leading performance. The senior finished in 38th place for the Knights.

The hot trend ends but the good golf continues.

The Rutgers women’s golf team was able to sustain its streak of good tournament play by securing a 12th place finish at the Johnie Imes Invitational. Missouri hosted the tournament at the Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Missouri.

Iowa, a Big Ten team, participated in the event as well. The Scarlet Knights competed with three conference opponents this fall, golfing against Penn State at the Nittany Lion Invitational on Sept. 6 and Iowa at the Diane Thomasen Invitational on Sept. 13 and Monday at the Johnie Imes Invitational.

Rutgers finished in second place, just behind the first-place Hawkeyes at the Diane Thomasen Invitational Sept. 13. The golfers had another crack at Iowa on Monday and Tuesday, but the Knights did not finish above its Big Ten Conference opponent.

“Second at Iowa was a big deal for us,” head coach Kari Williams said on the team’s performance at the Diane Thomasen Invitational. “We beat some teams, you know, we had to play some real golf the last round. I think we shot the second lowest round on the last day, which was a big deal to be able to come back and catch two or three teams which is hard to do when you’re playing golf.”

The golfers finished in 12th place out of 18 teams. The Knights shot a first round 298, a second round 303 and a third round 292 for a team total of 893 at the Club at Old Hawthorne. The team had a plus-29 for the event.

“We had a really good performance," said Williams. “We set program records again this week and we had an overall really good team effort. We counted scores from all five players again and had one of the players tie a personal best so, it was a really good weekend for us.”

The par 72, 6,204-yard course has wide fairways and greens but features numerous water hazards, bunkers and undulating greens. According to oldhawthorne.com, overly confident golfers get into trouble on the course, often hitting the golf ball over the greens.

The teams began play on Monday morning with the first two rounds, or 36 holes, set to take place. The third and final rounds were played on Tuesday. Rutgers’ lineup consisted of seniors Christina Paulsen, Gabrielle Sacheli and Racquel Zurick, along with sophomores Tatum Jackson and Emily Mills.

Sacheli saw her first action of the year at the Johnie Imes Invitational and did not disappoint.

She shot an even 72 in the first round with four birdies and 10 pars. In round two, she had a three over par, 75 and added four more birdies and eight pars. Sacheli hit a plus-three, 75 in the third round, birdied twice and shot for par 11 times.

The Pittsford, New York, native landed the best spot in the standings for the Knights by finishing in 38th place with a total score of 222.

“Gabrielle came out and shot even par getting back into the lineup for the fall,” Williams said. “She was hurt last spring so having her get back in the lineup was really good for us and obviously it was great for her to come out and shoot even par and then back that up with a nice round of, I think she shot 75 in the second round.”

Mills also put up a six over par, 222 at the Invite and captured a 38th place finish along with Sacheli. The Colts Neck, New Jersey, native compiled eight birdies and 34 pars during the course of the three rounds. Mills improved her scorecard after each round, shooting a plus-three 75 on the first 18 holes, a two over par, 74 in the second round and a plus-one, 71 in the third round.

Finishing in 52nd place, Jackson posted a nine over par, 225, two strokes behind Mills and Sacheli. She put up a plus-three 75 in each of the three rounds. The Mountain Brook, Alabama, native hit 35 pars and six birdies in Missouri.

Paulsen birdied five times and parred 33 times at the event. She shot a plus-four, 76 in the first round, a seven over par, 79 in the second 18 holes, and a plus-one 73 in the third round. The Ridgewood, New Jersey, native had a 12 over par, 228 for the tournament and finished in 64th place in the individual standings.

Zurick hit a plus-14, 230 and ended up in 69th place for Rutgers. Zurick shot a plus-eight, 80 in the first 18 holes, a plus-seven, 79 in round two and played very well in the third round with a minus-one, 71. She compiled eight birdies and 28 pars.

Mizzou won the Johnie Imes Inviatational with an astonishing 39 under par, 825 team score. The Tigers' Jess Meek won the Individual Championship by shooting a minus-15, 201.

Mizzou’s Michelle Butler and Ciara Young both earned ties for second place with scores of three under par, 207. Meghan MacLaren of Florida International rounded out the top four with a 209.

Middle Tennessee captured second place by putting up a minus-14, 850. Kansas State and Iowa both tied for third place with scores of 864 which is even par.

“I think in this event there were 18 teams or something like that,” Williams said. “We didn’t play with Iowa so we didn’t really see very much of them this week. Golf is like that, you really only see the players, the teams that you’re paired with. … Until we get a win, I can’t be too excited about it so, we’re still searching for that first Big Ten win.”

For updates on the Rutgers women’s golf team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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