Herd women’s golf completes first round at 2018 Conference USA Championship

Marshall Thundering Herd women’s golf began competition at the Conference USA Championship Tournament Monday morning at the Verandah Club in Fort Myers, Florida. The 12-team field finished the first of three rounds in their attempt at this season’s Conference USA Women’s Golf Champion.

The Herd combined for a score of 302 (14-over par) and is currently tied for fifth with Western Kentucky. Individually, junior Ylva Forslund and sophomore Shelby Brauckmuller led the Herd in round one. They both shot 2-over 74 and are tied for sixth in the overall leaderboards.

“We are still in this and we have two more days to improve,” head coach Brooke Burkhammer said. “You can’t win a golf tournament after one day, but you can lose it. We hung in there and kept things together. I love this group of girls that we have and I am proud to be their coach. We laugh a lot, but when it’s time to get down to business, they do just that.”

Freshman Stormy Randazzo also finished in the top-15 for the Herd. She finished the round 3-over par (75) and is tied for 12th place.

Last season, the Herd placed ninth out of the eleven-team field, and senior Leigha Holt tied for 20th, which was the highest individual finish for the Herd.

The women are coming off an eighth-place finish at last weekend’s Brickyard Collegiate. Brauckmuller was the top finisher for the Herd last season, as she tied for 17th place. She finished the tournament 9-over par (225), aided by her third round score of 1-under par (71).

The Herd logged three top-10 finishes in four tournaments this spring, including a second-place team finish at the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate March 20. Despite that, head coach Brooke Burkhammer said the team must focus on the task at hand.

“(Past success) doesn’t matter,” Burkhammer said. “It’s a clean slate once we get to conference (championship). It’s anyone’s ballgame and I like our chances. We have fighters on this team and I’m glad I’m on this journey with them.”

Randazzo, one of three Herd golfers to participate in all 26 team rounds this spring, said performance in the season’s final event is as much mental as it is physical.

“How you go into the tournament is how you’re going to play,” Randazzo said. “If you go in with a negative attitude, you aren’t going to shoot well. For me, it’s just having confidence in myself, knowing that I can do it. Hopefully, we see some success.”

Marshall competes against a tournament field that includes Old Dominion (defending Conference USA Champion), Middle Tennessee (defending runner-up), Florida International, Florida Atlantic, North Texas Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP, UTSA and Western Kentucky. The conference tournament has been held at the Verandah Club for the past three seasons. Burkhammer said familiarity with the course is an asset for returning student-athletes, and a chance to learn for the first-year golfers.

“We have Shelby (Brauckmuller) that has played there before,” Burkhammer said. “Leigha (Holt) and Ylva (Forslund) have played there before. Even though Shelby is just a year older, she still has experience there. Our underclassmen need to rely on our upperclassmen and Shelby because that is their ticket to play and get as much knowledge as possible.”

Luke Creasy can be contacted at [email protected].