More of the Same

DU women continue stellar run in conference tournaments by winning Summit League; Pioneers’ Anna Krekling closes with 64 to claim individual title by 9; CSU-Pueblo sweeps RMAC men’s and women’s championships

By Gary Baines – 4/25/2023

If it’s late April, it must mean that the University of Denver women’s golf team is winning a conference title.

Yes, it seems almost that automatic.

On Tuesday, the Pioneers captured their 18th league title in the last 19 times the tournaments have been contested. Specifically this week, they earned a Summit League championship in Lincoln, Neb., prevailing by 16 strokes over South Dakota in the nine-team event. DU finished at even par for three rounds after a closing 10-under-par 274.

With the team victory — Martha Richard’s first as head coach at DU — Denver earns an automatic berth into the women’s NCAA regionals, set for May 8-10. Where the Pioneers will compete in regionals will be divulged on Wednesday at 11 a.m. on Golf Channel.

DU, now ranked 40th nationally by Golfstat and 44th by Golfweek, has landed four consecutive Summit League titles and eight overall to go along with one WAC and nine Sunbelt championships.

The Summit League champs, with first-year DU head coach Martha Richards (left).

On Tuesday, besides landing the team crown in the Summit League, DU produced the individual champion and placed four players in the top 10 overall in the 45-player field. Senior Anna Krekling, the Summit League runner-up last year, won the second individual title of her college career. Last year’s Summit champ, Anna Zanusso, tied for second, while Clara Gestsdottir was fifth and Alyson Bean ninth. Rounding out DU’s team in Lincoln was Coloradan Emma Bryant, who tied for 26th individually.

Krekling finished things off in style on Tuesday, making eight birdies and one bogey en route to a 7-under-par 64, the lowest round in Summit League tournament history. That left her at 9-under 204 overall and with a nine-stroke victory over Zanusso, South Dakota’s Danica Badura and South Dakota State’s Alex Kandolin.

For all the scores from the women’s Summit League Championship, CLICK HERE.

Elsewhere in conference championships involving Colorado-based teams that concluded on Tuesday:

— Men’s Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference: If a tournament that goes right down to the wire, with multiple competitors battling it out for the title, is your thing, the men’s RMAC tournament in Boulder City, Nev., certainly fit the bill.

With less than three holes remaining in the three-round event, the top three teams — Colorado Christian, Colorado State University-Pueblo and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs — were all tied for the lead. And, at the end of regulation, CSU-Pueblo and CCU were knotted at 15 under, forcing an additional hole.

In an aggregate-score playoff for the five players from each team — on the par-5 18th hole — CSU-Pueblo prevailed, giving the ThunderWolves their third consecutive men’s RMAC championship. They thus qualified for the NCAA Division II regionals May 11-13. Regional selections will be announced on Friday.

CCU had been looking for its first men’s RMAC golf crown. UCCS, which is eliminating its men’s and women’s golf programs at season end, placed third. 

The individual men’s title went to Colorado Christian sophomore Xavier Bighaus, who went 71-65-73 for a 7-under-par 209 total. Lukas Taggart of Colorado School of Mines ended up second, a stroke back. Jeff Nelson was CSU-Pueblo’s top finisher, tying for fourth at 212.

For all the results from the men’s RMAC Championship, CLICK HERE.

— Women’s Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference: CSU-Pueblo claimed its fourth women’s RMAC championship since 2012, this time prevailing by 27 strokes in Boulder City, Nev. CSU-Pueblo previously won the RMAC tournaments in 2012, ’14 and ’19. 

The Thunderwolves finished at 35 over par — and 27 shots ahead of runner-up Colorado Christian, last year’s champion.

Kylie Severin of CSU-Pueblo, from Aurora, and CSU-Pueblo teammate Zoey Rodriguez, from Pueblo, tied for the top spot individually at 2 over par for three rounds. Rodriguez posted a 74 on Tuesday and Severin a 79.

The RMAC team title gives CSU-Pueblo a spot in the NCAA Division II regionals May 8-10. Sites and seeding will be announced on Friday.

For all the scores from the women’s RMAC tournament, CLICK HERE.