MW GOLF: Nowatzki leads Lady Jays golf teamWORTHINGTON — Kaia Nowatzki couldn’t remember the last time she broke 90.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Kaia Nowatzki couldn’t remember the last time she broke 90.
Or if she ever had.
But in a few hours Friday, that all changed.
A sophomore on the Minnesota West women’s golf team, Nowatzki fired an 89, finishing second individually at the Turkey Day Invitational.
“I thought I played really well (Friday),” Nowatzki said. “I had five three-putts, which is a lot better than what I’ve been shooting lately. The first round on Saturday, I was just not playing well; I had a lot of three-putts. So it was nice to have a different approach to the game. That birdie really helped, too.”
Playing at Prairie View Golf Links on a hot, calm day, Nowatzki stepped to the No. 6 tee and ripped a drive down the middle.
Her approach shot rolled nicely on the green, and she sank the putt, giving her the first birdie of the young season.
“It was really exciting,” she said. “I put that putt in, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just got a birdie — the first birdie of the year.’”
But then, she had to finish her round.
“I just thought, ‘You got your birdie, just go and get some more pars,’” she said.
And that’s what she did, cruising through her last three holes, coming in with a 44 on the back side.
“My swing was more consistent, I was hitting more fairways and hitting more greens,” Nowatzki said. “That’s pretty much all you can ask for, a straight ball.”
She had a 45 on the front to finish with an 89.
“I don’t think I’ve ever broke 90,” she said. “It would have been sometime in a section meet in high school. I think this is the first time.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Luverne graduate.
She did have her share of three-putts.
“The three-putts were the ones that wouldn’t drop,” she said. “I burned a couple edges and that was pretty much the only reason they didn’t go.
“It’s so frustrating. You want it to go in. You want that putt, I don’t want that bogey, I want that par.”
Iowa Lakes’ Nikki Nielsen finished with an 86 to claim medalist honors.
The Lakers shot a 359 as a team, while Minnesota West fired a 391.
Kendall Spartz finished with a 97, while Breanna Rients had a 100. April Buhler, a Windom graduated, rounded out the scoring for the Lady Jays.
“On the ladies’ side, Kaia shot a college-best for her, an 89, and Kendal shot another nice round with a 97,” MW head coach Ron Wood said. “Breanna Rients shot a 100 for her very first college meet. I’m going to expect her in the 90s. In April’s first time out this season, she shot a 105, but I’m really expecting to see her in the 90s next time.”
MW will host another tournament today, this time playing at Worthington Country Club.
“I am pumped,” Nowatzki said. “I am so excited. I love the country club; it’s just going to be a good day.”