Thea Lunning

Thea Lunning shot 81-83--164 for the first-place Dutch

LINCOLN, NEB. — Central College notched its first tournament win of the women’s golf season Sunday but the Dutch have their eyes on one more.

Central cruised to first in the five-team 36-hole Prairie Wolves Invitational hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan University. The Dutch shot 322-324—646 with Concordia (Neb.) a distant second at 357-336—693.

It’s the team’s first tournament title since claiming the American Rivers Conference crown in 2018. That’s the only tournament left on the fall schedule, Oct. 9-11 at the Ames Country Club.

Delaney Underwood (junior, Mitchellville, Colfax-Mingo HS) finished fourth at 80-79—159 at the par-70 Mahoney Golf Course with Madison Clark (junior, Bloomington, Ill., Central Catholic HS) fifth at 77-83—160 and Mackenzie Biggs (sophomore, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) tied for seventh at 84-80—164 along with Thea Lunning (junior, Mason City), who shot 81-83—164. Avery Woods (sophomore, Long Grove, North Scott HS) shot 91-82–173.

At-large entrant Peyton Bytnar  (sophomore, Bettendorf) shot 80-90--170 while Whitney Anderson (junior, Sioux Rapids, Sioux Central HS) shot 92-83--175 and Rachel Sohn (sophomore, Sutherland, South O’Brien HS) had 94-85—179.

“We played all right,” coach Tabitha Schumacher said. “The greens were pretty tricky. We gave ourselves lots of good par opportunities, but the putts weren’t dropping. But we shot 324 and we weren’t that far off from being in the low 300s.”

Underwood had a bumpy finish but was consistent most of the day.

“She was playing really smart,” Schumacher said. “That was one of the things we talked about at Illinois Wesleyan (Sept. 17-18). She was taking risks in some of the wrong places. But when we play smart, we can play good golf.”

Central is off until the American Rivers tournament. The Dutch were fourth in last year’s league meet at the same site but have their sights on the top spot this season. The University of Dubuque edged Wartburg College for the tourney crown last year but Central has prevailed in its head-to-head matchups with other league schools thus far this fall.

“If we keep our confidence up and play like we’ve been playing, we’ll be right in the mix,” Schumacher said. “It’s not something we talk a lot about but it’s exciting. The fact that last year we were hoping to finish third and now we’re hoping to win it is exciting. This year a good day is to shoot in the low 300s and a bad day is to shoot in the 320s. Last year our best score was 329. It shows how much we’ve improved.”

Biggs and Underwood each gained all-conference distinction last year, finishing third and ninth, respectively in the medalist standings.

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