Apr 11, 2024

Huskers golf wrap up regular season at Ohio State

Posted Apr 11, 2024 1:06 PM

Story by NU Athletic Communications

The Nebraska women’s golf team concludes its 2023-24 regular-season tournament schedule by traveling to Columbus, Ohio for the Therese Hession Buckeye Invitational, April 13-14.

The Huskers will take on a 12-team field loaded with 11 Big Ten Conference teams on the par-72, 6,319-yard layout of the Scarlet Course on the Ohio State campus. The Buckeye Invitational will serve as a preview to next week’s Big Ten Championship (April 19-21) at the Bulle Rock Golf Club in Havre de Grace, Md.

The Buckeye Invitational will tee off on Saturday, April 13 with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. (CT). After playing 36 holes on Saturday, golfers in the six-count-four team format will close the tournament with Sunday’s final-round shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. (CT).

Live scoring for the event will be available on Huskers.com from GolfStat.

The field features 11 top-100 teams, including No. 30 Michigan State, No. 32 Purdue, No. 42 Ohio State, No. 57 Minnesota, No. 64 Illinois, No. 65 Kent State, No. 66 Nebraska, No. 70 Wisconsin, No. 75 Indiana, No. 88 Rutgers and No. 93 Iowa along with No. 106 Penn State. 

The Huskers will be without their top golfer and national No. 75 Kelli Ann Strand, who is recovering from injury in hopes of being ready for the Big Ten Championship.

The sophomore from Challis, Idaho, owns eight individual top-20 finishes in nine events this season and carries a school-record 70.77 stroke average over 26 rounds this season. The Buckeye Invitational will mark her first time out of Nebraska’s lineup since winning an individual title at the Green Wave Classic to open her college career in New Orleans (Sept. 12-13, 2022).

Lindsey Thiele will play out of the top spot in Nebraska’s lineup at Ohio State. The senior from Wahoo, Neb., is coming off a tie for 20th with a 217 (+1) at the Florida State Match Up (March 15-16). Thiele ranks second among the Huskers with a 73.35 stroke average over 17 rounds this season.

Miu Takahashi, who has produced three straight top-30 finishes, will play out of the No. 2 spot. The junior from Nasu-Machi, Japan, has competed in all 26 rounds this season and carries a 73.46 stroke average. 

Senior Michaela Vavrova (Bojnice, Slovakia) will occupy the No. 3 spot, while freshman Arden Loucheim will compete out of the No. 4 position in the Husker lineup. 

Germans Sydney Harz and Lena Hassert complete Nebraska’s six-player lineup. Hassert, a junior from Kreuzau, will be making her fifth lineup appearance of the season for the Big Red. Harz, a redshirt freshman from Freiburg will be making her second appearance of the spring after earning a lineup spot at the Spartan Sun Coast Invitational (Feb. 18-19).

Therese Hession Buckeye InvitationalColumbus, OhioHost: Ohio StateThe Scarlet Course (Par 72/6,319 Yards)

ScheduleSaturday, April 13 (Rounds 1 & 2) - 7:30 a.m. (CT) (Shotgun)Sunday, April 14 (Round 3) - 7:30 a.m. (CT) (Shotgun)

Live Scoring: GolfStat

Participating Teams (12) Illinois (64)Indiana (75)Iowa (93)Kent State (65)Michigan State (30)Minnesota (57)Nebraska (66)Ohio State (42)Penn State (106)Purdue (32)Rutgers (88)Wisconsin (70)

Golfer1. Lindsey Thiele, Sr., Wahoo, Neb. 2. Miu Takahashi, Jr., Nasu-Machi, Japan3. Michaela Vavrova, Sr., Bojnice, Slovakia4. Arden Louchheim, Fr., Park City, Utah5. Sydney Harz, RFr., Freiburg, Germany6. Lena Hassert, Jr., Kreuzau, Germany

Sutherland Leads Huskers

In her second season as Nebraska’s head coach, Jeanne Sutherland is in pursuit of her 20th NCAA Regional appearance in 2024. Sutherland, who spent one season as Nebraska’s associate head coach (2021-22), was named head coach on May 5, 2022. She came to Nebraska after spending 10 seasons (2011-21) as the head coach at SMU. She previously spent 15 seasons as the head coach at Texas A&M (1992-2007).

Sutherland has coached three All-Americans, five individual conference champions and three conference players of the year.

In 2018, Sutherland was named the inaugural winner of the WGCA Kim Evans Award. She also earned the WGCA Founders Award in 2017. A four-time conference coach of the year at Texas A&M (3 Big 12, 1 Southwest Conference), Sutherland was also a two-time NCAA Regional Coach of the Year (1997, 2007). She led 13 Texas A&M teams to NCAA Regional play, including four NCAA Championship appearances in 1997 (17th), 2004 (24th), 2005 (22nd) and 2006 (19th). 

Sutherland coached SMU to five straight NCAA bids (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).

Strand Earns All-Big Ten Honors

Kelli Ann Strand captured All-Big Ten honors as a true freshman in 2022-23.

Strand was one of eight second-team All-Big Ten choices for 2023, while the conference also announced eight first-team honorees.

She capped one of the best seasons in school history by tying for 30th at the NCAA Raleigh Regional, after tying for 20th at her first Big Ten Championship. Strand set a school record with a 72.05 stroke average on her way to final top 115 national rankings by both Golfweek and GolfStat.

Strand has continued to play outstanding golf, leading Nebraska with a 70.77 stroke average over 26 rounds that puts her on school-record pace for the season. She has climbed to No. 75 in the Scorecard National Rankings.

Strand produced a runner-up finish with a 206 (-10) at the Dale McNamara Invitational (Oct. 9-10). With rounds of 70-66-70, Strand earned Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week honors (Oct. 11). She added another Big Ten weekly honor (Feb. 7) after a tie for sixth with a 210 (-6) to open the spring at the UCF Challenge (Feb. 3-5).

The sophomore from Challis, Idaho owns 17 career top-25 finishes, including 10 top-10 showings after a tie for ninth at the Florida State Match Up (March 15-16). She took fifth with a season-best 204 (-12) at the 2024 Westbrook Spring Invitational (Feb. 25-26). 

She claimed an individual title in her collegiate debut at the Green Wave Classic in New Orleans (Sept. 12-13, 2022). Strand tied the school record with a 54-hole score of 202 (-14) at Tulane. She also set the Husker freshman record with a second-round 65 (-7) at the Bayou Oaks South Course. 

Strand fired a 29 (-7) over the back nine in the second round before opening the third round with a 31 (-5) on the front nine, carding a 60 (-12) over those consecutive 18 holes splitting two rounds. The NCAA record for best round of women’s golf is 61. Strand also was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Week (Sept. 15, 2022).

Strand, who earned her second straight Idaho Golf Association Women’s Player of the Year award in December of 2022, won the Idaho Women’s Match Play title. She added a runner-up finish at the Idaho Women’s Amateur. 

During the summer of 2023, Strand qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. She also advanced to the round of 32 in match play at the Women’s Western Amateur.

Takahashi Named Nebraska Women’s Amateur of the Year for 2023

Miu Takahashi was named the 2023 state Women’s Amateur of the Year by the Nebraska Golf Association. The junior from Nasu-Machi, Japan is the first-ever international winner of Nebraska’s top female amateur award, which dates back to 1997. She claimed the honor after winning the 49th Nebraska Women’s Amateur Championship. She was the first international player to ever win the tournament, dating back to its inception in 1975.

Takahashi also qualified for the 123rd U.S. Women’s Amateur by claiming a spot in Dallas, Texas. She fired rounds of 78 and 73 at the U.S. Amateur in Los Angeles. 

Takahashi owns a 73.46 stroke average over 26 rounds for the Huskers in 2023-24, including a career-best 211 (-5) to tie for 29th at the Westbrook Spring Invitational (Feb. 25-26).

As a sophomore, she was a key to Nebraska’s run to a 2023 NCAA Regional berth, setting the NU sophomore record with a 73.49 stroke average. Her 2022-23 season included an individual title with a season-best 213 (-3) at the Dale McNamara Invitational (Oct. 10-11, 2022). She was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Week (Oct. 12, 2022). 

Vavrova Strong in Fall for Huskers

Michaela Vavrova was Nebraska’s top finisher at its first two tournaments of the fall and played out of the No. 1 spot in the lineup at the Dale McNamara Invitational (Oct. 9-10).

The senior from Bojnice, Slovakia led the Huskers with a career-best 205 (-11) to tie for fifth individually at the Sam Golden Invitational (Sept. 11-12). She fired rounds of 69-68-68 on the par-72, 6,413-yard layout of the Oakmont Country Club in Corinth, Texas, to earn Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week honors for the second time in her career on Sept. 13.

Vavrova added a 223 (72-77-74) to help NU tie for sixth in a loaded 15-team field at the Mary Fossum Invitational in East Lansing, Mich. (Sept. 17-18). She finished the fall with a career-best 72.92 stroke average over 12 rounds.

Vavrova overcame an up-and-down junior season to help the Huskers advance to the NCAA Raleigh Regional.

The 2022 and 2023 Slovakian Player of the Year, Vavrova has been a key to Nebraska’s success, including her tie for 17th at the 2022 Big Ten Championship. She owns a pair of top-50 NCAA Regional finishes.

Vavrova finished second at the 2022 Slovak Amateur Championship and 12th at the AMUNDI Czech Ladies Challenge. She also represented Slovakia at the 2022 World University Golf Championships in Turin, leading Slovakia to a ninth-place finish.

Vavrova won her first title with a then-career-best 217 (+1) at the Stampede at The Creek in Elkhorn, Neb. (Oct. 4-5, 2021). She was named the Big Ten Co-Golfer of the Week (Oct. 6).

Thiele Plans to Provide Leadership in Senior Season for Big Red

Lindsey Thiele earned her first top-10 finish of the season by tying for seventh (143, -1) at the rain-shortened Spartan Sun Coast Invitational in Sarasota, Fla. (Feb. 18-19). 

She added a strong showing with a season-best three-round score of 212 (-4) to tie for 32nd at the Westbrook Spring Invitational (Feb. 25-26), before tying for 20th with a 217 (+1) at the Florida State Match Up (March 15-16).

She ranks second among the Huskers with a 73.35 stroke average on the season.

Thiele (pronounced TEEL)  was Nebraska’s No. 2 finisher at the 2023 Big Ten Championship, tying for 34th (228), helping NU secure a bid to the 2023 NCAA Raleigh Regional.

Thiele finished with a career-best 74.88 stroke average while competing in all 38.5 rounds. She notched a pair of top-25 finishes, including a tie for eighth at the Green Wave Classic to open the season (Sept. 12-13, 2022). 

The most recent of three sisters (Haley, Hannah) to play golf for the Big Red, Thiele is an outstanding student and leader in community service. The Regents Scholar at Nebraska is a three-time WGCA Scholastic

All-American and a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She was also a College Sports Communicators Academic All-District VII selection in 2023.

Thiele participated alongside teammate Megan Whittaker in the 2023 Nebraska Life Skills No Filter Service Trip Abroad to Panama.

Huskers Set Pace in Classroom

Nebraska leads NCAA Division I with 354 College Sports Communicators Academic All-Americans all-time across all sports. The Huskers also lead all schools in history with 18 NCAA Top 10 Award winners across all sports. 

Nebraska women’s golf leads the nation with 94 WGCA Scholastic All-Americans since 1989, including four in 2022-23. Megan Whittaker, Lindsey Thiele, Kelli Ann Strand and Andrea Velez all earned WGCA honors. 

Whittaker became NU’s first five-time WGCA Scholastic All-American. Thiele, who earned her third WGCA honor, joins her older sisters Haley (2016, 2018, 2019) and Hannah (2018) as WGCA Scholastic All-America Huskers.

NU also owns a 95 percent graduation success rate across all student-athletes.