K-State women’s golf finished the first day of the Cowgirl Classic in the middle of the pack and poised to climb in the final round behind top-15 performances by Reid Issac and Niamh McSherry.
McSherry climbed the leaderboard with a 2-over 74 in the second round after a 77 in the opening round to push her into a tie for 12th place with Gurleen Kaur of Baylor and Hailey Jones of Oklahoma State. It could’ve been a jump into the top 10 if not for a pair of miscues on the final holes.
“I think the first round I hit some good shots but just had some mental mistakes,” McSherry said. “The second round gave me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow for sure.”
“I’m not happy with my finish, but I knew going into this week I wasn’t quite playing as well as I wanted. I knew it was going to be a grind this week with the wind picking up. The thing I worked on this week was picking really specific targets, and I just became a lot more confident with the wind.”
Isaac continued to hole impressive shots and was the only player to shoot under par in the first round and finished the first day at Karsten Creek Golf Course tied for 8th.
“My game has changed a lot since the last tournament, but that hasn’t changed the fact that I know I can come out here with confidence that I will hit the greens, to be confident in my swing and my stroke,” Issac said of her performance.
“Today, honestly, I didn’t know I hit under par until I asked my dad, so that was really exciting to find out. I had no idea I was leading the field. I was just doing my best hit every shot as close as possible, and that’s where it led to.”
At the other end of the lineup, Gabriella McNelly, making her first collegiate appearance, carded a score of 81 in the first round and 76 in the second, finishing only 13-over-par to place her in a tie for 26th place.
“I’m super proud of her because college golf is different from high school,” McSherry said after hearing about McNelly’s impressive first collegiate start. “She was kind of thrown into the deep end with a really challenging course and the wind and stuff. She has done awesome after a tough first round to go out and give it her all.”
Finishing out the lineup, Haley Vargas and Heather Fortushinak both struggled with the Oklahoma winds, but still managed to finish in ties for 41st and 44th respectively. They, along with the rest of the team, will have to put their Colbert Hills practice to use with more windy weather expected and a steep drop in temperature and moisture in the forecast.
“This is going to be perfect Irish weather for me. No sunscreen tomorrow,” Lurgan’s McSherry joked. “I feel like because we play at Colbert and play in the wind, this is perfect for us. A little bit of rain isn’t going to hurt us … I don’t see why we can’t just do what we did today and work hard and get the job done.”
Play will finish Friday with an 8:45 a.m. shotgun start for the third and final round of the tournament. The tournament is free and open to the public, although spectators are asked to respect social distancing guidelines.