⛳️ Jayhawks Finish Fourth at Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind a fifth-place outing from sophomore Johanna Ebner, Kansas women’s golf finished fourth at the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational, which concluded on Tuesday at Lawrence Country Club.

In a 15-field team, Kansas shot the low round Tuesday with a nine-hole 148 (+4). Due to cold weather conditions and travel, the final round was cut to nine holes and the event 45. Near freezing temperatures caused a delay in the start time.

Kansas ended with a 761 (+41) and its fourth-place finish was its best placing of the 2022-23 season and third time under second-year head coach Lindsay Kuhle the Jayhawks have finished fourth or better. Kent State won the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational with a 741 (+21), which was eight shots ahead of runner-up Sam Houston (+29). Arizona was third at 758 (+38), followed by the Jayhawks.

“It was a great finish at four-over par and a total team effort,” Kuhle said of KU’s low round on Tuesday. “It was a great opportunity for our ladies to compete in this field and under these conditions and they all got a lot better the last couple days.”

Ebner started three-over through the first two holes on Tuesday. She then chipped in from 110 yards out for an eagle three on the par 5 third hole and backed that up with a birdie three on the par 4 sixth. She concluded the tourney with a five-over 185 and her fifth-place finish was the best of her career surpassing her previous finish of 11th at the Mo Morial Invitational on Sept. 20-21 in Bryan, Texas, earlier this fall.

“One thing I have noticed about Johanna this year from last year is she has more composure,” Kuhle said. “She is more confident. After a rough start in the third round she bounced back with an eagle and a birdie to shoot even par for the round. She has the belief that her next shot or her next hole can be her best and we saw that today.”

Kansas Jayhawks
LAWRENCE, KS- Johanna Ebner during Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational at Lawrence Country Club in Lawrence, KS Photo by Emma Pravecek/Kansas Athletics

Sophomore Jordan Rothman finished tied for 15th in the 83-golfer field with a 190 (+10) to mark her fourth top-20 finish in her two-year KU career. Senior Pear Pooratanaopa tied for 33rd with a 196 (+16) followed by graduate senior Esme Hamilton at 198 (+18). Hamilton’s 37 (+1) was KU’s second lowest score in the final round. Sophomore Lauren Clark ended one shot behind Hamilton at 199 to close out the team scoring.

Hosting the home event, Kansas was able to play all 11 of its student-athletes in the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational with the other six playing as individuals. Freshman Anna Wallin tied for 23rd with a 194 (+14), followed by junior Hanna Hawks at 198. Graduate senior Abby Glynn and freshmen Anna Shultse and Katie Ruge tied Clark at 199, while freshman Amy DeKock ended at 207.

“Coach (Stephen) Bidne and I learned a lot about our team,” Kuhle said of playing all 11. “We learned last week in Arkansas and this week on who can handle the conditions. We’ll see these conditions again this winter and this spring. We learned a lot about our players and who wants to compete, who’s tough and who can grind out some good pars. That was very noticeable the last couple days.”

Kansas will conclude the fall portion of the 2022-23 season at the Battle at the Beach, Oct. 28-30, at Club Campestre San Jose in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.