⛳ Jayhawks Finish Fifth at Match in the Desert

SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. Kansas Women’s Golf opened its spring season with a fifth-place finish at the 2024 Match in the Desert on Monday, January 22 at the Prospector Course at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Superstition Mountain, Arizona.

No. 5 UCLA won the event with a score of -17, followed by No. 26 Arizona (-14), No. 21 Arizona State (-9), Baylor (-6) and No. 43 host Kansas (-5).

The Jayhawks, who tied for the fifth-lowest round in school history with a five-under 283, were led by a 69 (-3) from junior transfer Lily Hirst. Hirst carded three birdies on her way to a bogey-free 18 holes, tying her for a share of sixth place in the 34-golfer field. Junior Lauren Clark, who competed as an individual for Kansas and tied for sixth, also posted a three-under 69, including five birdies and two bogeys.  

“The ladies finished well today and were -8 in our last six holes which was great to see,” said KU third-year head coach Lindsay Kuhle. “To shoot -5 and the fifth-lowest round in history in January says a lot about the work the team has put in and the preparation they had for this event.” 

Freshman Lyla Louderbaugh and senior Hanna Hawks joined the under-par list for Kuhle’s lineup, as Louderbaugh carded a two-under round of 70, while Hawks added a one-under round of 71. Louderbaugh’s scorecard consisted of five birdies and three bogeys, all of which came on the front nine on her way to a tie for 14th. Hawks finished tied for 17th and added five birdies, which included a stretch of four straight on holes 13, 14, 15 and 16. 

“Lily was awesome today and very consistent with three birdies and no bogeys,” Kuhle said. “Hanna’s four-straight birdies to finish and Lyla’s -3 on her last four holes was outstanding. It shows their fight and grit and we’re super proud of these three today.” 

Freshman Lauren Pham made her collegiate debut, finishing tied for 27th with a one-over round of 73. Pham carded three birdies on the day, all of which came on a par three. Junior Jordan Rothman added a two-over round of 74 and notched three birdies. 

Along with Clark, sophomore Amy DeKock and junior Johanna Ebner competed for the Jayhawks as individuals. DeKock posted a one-under round of 71 thanks to five birdies and four bogeys, finishing tied for 17th. Ebner finished in a tie for 27th with a one-over round of 73, which included two birdies and three bogeys. 

“Overall, it was a great performance by all eight players shooting in between 69-74,” Kuhle said. “We’re proud of how they battled back and competed with a ton of good shots and birdies today.” 

Kansas will travel to Orlando, Florida and compete at the UCF Challenge Feb. 4-6. The 54-hole tournament will be played at Eagle Creek Golf Club, where KU finished eighth last season in the 18-team field. In 2023, Kansas set a 54-hole program record with a score of -12, vaulted by team scores of 285, 281 and 286.