Abby Cavaiani

Then-freshman Abby Cavaiani lines up a shot during the fall 2019 golf season.

The Missouri State women’s golf team hosted the MSU/Payne Stewart Memorial tournament on Monday, Oct. 19 in Springfield.

The team started off on the wrong foot on the cold and wet morning, posting a 314 scoreline. The afternoon went much better as the team shot a 295, totaling 609 for the day.

The team kept up the momentum from the previous afternoon on Tuesday as they put up a season low score of 293, totaling 902 for the tournament.

“I was disappointed with our first round yesterday, but we came back and played well in the afternoon and then again today,” women's golf head coach Kevin Kane said. “I’m really proud of the way we bounced back.”

Kane said there were 17 teams originally in the tournament, but only four ended up competing due to the pandemic. Since many teams dropped out, social distancing requirements were not too difficult to enact.

“Being an outdoor sport and one where you don’t have to be too close together, golf id a little better suited to deal with COVID than some other sports,” Kane said. 

After the first day of play, MSU had six players in the top-10. Sophomore Abby Cavaiani led the field with a 75-71 — 146, which came out to a 4 over par.

Sophomore Allison Bray and junior Bridget Schulte, carding 81-72 — 153 and 76-77 — 153 respectively, were tied for second overall, seven strokes behind Cavaiani.

Sophomore Faith Hopkins was in fifth place after shooting 79-77 — 156 on the first day. Fellow sophomore Faith Belmear was one stroke behind Hopkins, recording a 85-72 — 157.

Junior Niamh Lendrum rounded out the Bears’ top-10 grouping after the first day, sitting in eighth with a 84-77 — 161 scoreline.

The second day of play continued the Bears’ dominance as they swept the top three positions. Cavaiani held her lead posting a final card of 75-71-71 — 217 to win her second title in her collegiate career.

Bray posted a career-best three-under-par 68 on Tuesday, bringing her total to 221 and claiming second place. Schulte took the third place spot with a 76-77-76 — 229.

Belmear (82-75-78 — 235) ended in fifth place and Hopkins (79-77-81 — 237) finished sixth.

Lendrum and sophomore Brooke Newell tied for eighth place with totals of 239. Freshman Kayla Pfitzner was the eighth Bear to finish top-10 with a 242. Freshmen Taylor Towers and Wriley Hiebert shot 253 and 257 respectively.

This tournament wraps up the pandemic-shortened fall schedule for the Bears. The team opens the season in the spring on Feb. 1-2 in Dallas at the SMU Trinity Forest Invitational.