Iowa women's golf season filled with ups and downs

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | MAY 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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The 2012-2013 Iowa women’s golf season might best be summed up as frustrating.

“I definitely wish we could have made it to regionals,” senior Kristi Cardwell said. “We all put in a lot of hard work over the course of the season, so to fall short is unfortunate, but it’s all in the past now and there’s nothing I can do about it, so you just have to move on.”

The Hawkeyes opened up the first half of the season in Lincoln, Neb., at the Chip-N-Club Invitational, where they took fifth-place almong 13 teams. This was, unfortunately for the Black and Gold, its highest placement of the season.

Iowa never found a consistent groove throughout the season. The Hawkeyes collected a pair of eighth- and 10th-place finishes, a sixth-place finish, and wrapped its season up with a ninth-place showing at the Big Ten championships.

But the year wasn’t a total failure, and there were plenty of highlights for the Black and Gold during the season. Cardwell recorded her first-ever hole-in-one on Sept. 17, 2012, at the Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.

“Kristi has been a great competitor and leader for us all year,” Iowa women’s golf coach Megan Menzel said in a release after Cardwell’s ace.

The women’s golf team also scored a point for Iowa in the Cy-Hawk series when it downed in-state rival Iowa State, 8-7, in Mesa, Ariz., on March 19.

The newest members of the Hawkeyes were able to step up and contribute. Freshman Brianna Midkiff and Amy Ihm both had strong outings at the Mountain View Collegiate, finishing with scores of 228 and 231, respectively. Midkiff also led the team in birdies.

“Coach always says I’m too hard on myself,” Midkiff said. “I played in every tournament this year, which is a big deal, but this was by far my biggest comeback and it gave me a lot of confidence going into later invites.”

Unfortunately, for sophomore Shelby Phillips, the most troublesome part of the season was due to simple human error. Phillips accidently signed off on a scorecard that had her shooting a 40 instead of a 4 on the 18th hole at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational in April.

“It was a tough day for all of us, but I’m pleased with our composure,” second year coach Megan Menzel said in a release after Phillips’ performance that weekend. “Shelby had a great tournament, but unfortunately signed the wrong score card. She played three great rounds on a tough course.”

Iowa will return seven starters but will lose two key team members in seniors Kristi Cardwell and Gigi DiGrazia, whose importance to the team was emphasized by freshman Midkiff.

“Those two seniors are the two hardest working girls on the team and two of the best teammates I could have asked for,” Midkiff said. “We have to step up and work just as hard and show a good work ethic without them next year.”

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