The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s golf aims for faster start

After two straight dreadful season openers, how will the Hawkeyes begin 2023?
Matt Sindt
Photo Illustration by Matt Sindt

The Iowa women’s golf team will begin its season on Sept. 17-19 at the Badger Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin. The tournament will include three rounds, with a round of 18 holes being played each day.

While the opening tournament of the year seems like a joyful time for most programs, season openers have not treated the Hawkeyes well. 

Related: Iowa women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark wins AAU James E. Sullivan Award

In their last two opening tournaments in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Iowa finished 15th and 14th place. It certainly didn’t help that the Hawkeyes had to battle the extreme New Mexico heat, but head coach Megan Menzel acknowledged the struggles. 

“Every year is a good fresh start, we probably learned a lot from the start last year,” Menzel, who is entering her 13th season as head coach, said. 

Though the Hawkeyes get a change of scenery for this year’s opener, the Badger Invitational has given Iowa fits. Last season, the Hawkeyes limped to a 10th place tie with UC Davis. 

The event will be held at University Ridge Golf Course, which has played host to PGA senior events, including the American Family Championship until 2023. With its mix of prairie and woodland, the course presents its fair share of challenges. 

“You have to be very accurate with your tee shots, and we’ve had some bad weather a few times,” third-year Paula Miranda said. 

“There’s a lot of trees, it’s important to keep [the golf ball] in the fairway,” second-year Shannyn Vogler said. 

Excluding Wisconsin, the host team, Iowa joins only four other returning squads from last season’s invitational. The other four teams include Delaware, Colorado State, North Florida, and UC Davis. 

After playing in this tournament for two straight years, the Hawkeyes are confident that they know the course well. 

“This year, we’re more experienced and it helps that we’ve seen the course before,” Miranda said. 

After losing three players to graduation and the transfer portal, Miranda was left as the oldest player remaining on the roster, despite being only a third-year student. The Puebla, Mexico, native has embraced her role as a team leader. 

“I learned a lot from Jordan [Amelon] and Lea [Zeitler],” Miranda said. “I try to make the team feel comfortable and also push them to work harder.”

Last season, Miranda competed in all 12 tournaments and mustered two top-25 finishes. Her approach to the season remains the same, but she is stressing improvement on basic fundamentals. 

“I worked a lot with my swing coach back home as well as my short game,” she said. 

Along with Miranda, Iowa’s roster includes four second-years and three first-years. Menzel said she is pleased with the young Hawkeyes’ development so far. 

“They’ve added a lot of chemistry to our lineup, and they’re eager to get started,” Menzel added.  

One of the second-years is Vogler, who returns a wealth of accolades from her first season. Vogler led the team in five tournaments, including last season’s Badger Invitational. The Bettendorf, Iowa, native also won the individual title at the National Golf Invitational in Arizona, leading the Hawkeyes to a second-place finish. She wants to keep the momentum going into 2023. 

“I’d hope to get us in the top 75 of the rankings. I think we can make some gains from there and continue to improve,” she said. 

Historically, the Iowa women’s golf program has been one of the least successful programs in the Big Ten. But the Hawkeyes feel they have a bright future ahead of them this season. 

“We want the best attitude and the best effort, and if we can keep that a little bit stronger and better, I think we’ll be in good shape,” Menzel said.

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About the Contributor
Brad Schultz
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.