We are the champions: IWU women’s golf

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Jill Harmon, Staff Writer

By a 32- stroke margin, the Illinois Wesleyan Women’s Golf team captured its 12th CCIW Championship title on Saturday, Oct. 3 in Decatur, Illinois.

The Titans won with a score of 940 (316 – 310 – 314) followed by Carthage with 972 (324 – 322 – 326) and North Central with 1014 (333 – 345 – 336).

The IWU score of 940 is the lowest 54-hole total in CCIW championship history, breaking the team’s previous record of 955.

Senior Karson Taphorn and junior Jackie Halden led the team. Halden tied for second place, with senior Danielle Ellis in fourth, sophomore Emma Klimala in sixth and first-year Jordan Koehler in seventh. All five women received All-Conference honors by placing in the top 10.

“We played all three days as a team.  Everyone counted at least one day of the tournament and that is what it takes to be a great team,” Coach Freeman said.

With Freeman, the team is in good hands. Last year, Freeman’s second year as head coach of the women’s golf team, he earned CCIW “Coach of the Year” honors.

The IWU team led the way throughout the entire tournament with an eight-stroke lead after day one and a 20-stroke lead after day two.

Taphorn, the team’s captain, tied for the tournament lead after day two when she tied her career low with a 71. Even so, Taphorn said she struggled on day three, where she shot an 87, because of the pressure she put on herself to be the top medalist.

“What kept me going through that round was knowing I had a team to rely on and that we would bring that trophy home to IWU,” Taphorn said. “Our coach kept telling us all weekend to rely on our teammates, which is what made us successful. We achieved this together.”

By capturing the title, the team earned the CCIW’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships next May in Houston, Texas.

“We achieved our first goal, which was to win conference, therefore advancing us to the NCAA tournament in Houston this coming May. We are all very excited for what is to come!” Taphorn said.

“As a team, we lead the Division III in birdies (70), but we still need to work on eliminating those high numbers every round.” Freeman said. “Once we accomplish this, there is no reason we can’t be at the top of the leaderboard come May.”

The Titan’s season continues Friday, Oct. 9 with the NCAA Division III Golf Preview on Sunday at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida.