Missouri women’s golf has now won its home tournament six years in a row.
The Tigers commanded the lead from the first tee to the last putt, finishing 4-over, seven strokes ahead of second place Oral Roberts to win the Johnie Imes Invitational Wednesday at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia.
The Tigers were led by Noelle Beijer, a junior transfer. Beijer started the tournament strong Monday with a bogey-less, 3-under round. Despite slowing down in the final two rounds, she took third in the tournament, her second top-ten finish of the season. Beijer, who also had two eagles on the week, finished 4-under in the tournament.
“It feels amazing. I was going for the win, but this shows that I’m competitive and I can be here and potentially even win a tournament in the upcoming two years,” she said. “I’m just going to grind as hard as I can and be the best player I can be.”
Senior Cherise Otter finished a stroke behind Beijerand tied for fourth in the tournament. After the second round, Otter was tied for first, but dropped three spots after a roller-coaster final day. Otter, who hails from Bloomington, Indiana, scored a bogey on each of her first four holes. Otter snapped the slump with a birdie on the fifth hole and closed the front nine with two more birdies to pull herself to 1-over. An even back nine made for a day total of 1-over. Otter ended the tournament, her last in Columbia as a Tiger, with a score of 213 (3-under), the best three-day score of her career.
“My overall energy and vibe I had for all three rounds was good. It’s my last go-round so I want to make the best out of every moment I get,” she said.
Two freshmen anchored the middle of Missouri’s lineup.
Bri Bolden finished Wednesday with a 1-over 73, bringing her three-day score to 6-over. Her final tally of 218 is the best result of her young career, and it was good enough to tie for 13th on the leaderboard.
Not far behind was classmate Sophia Yoemans. An even final day solidified the freshman’s final score of 224 (8-over). Yoemans tied for 18th overall, her second top-20 finish this year.
Perhaps the most consistent Missouri golfer was former Rock Bridge standout Julia Bower. The sophomore went 75, 75 and 76 on her hometown course, tying her career best (earned in last year’s Johnie Imes Invitational). Bower finished 35th, the best individual placement of her career.
Missouri will look to continue its success when the team participates in the Jim West Challenge — in which it finished seventh a year ago — on Oct. 20-21 in San Marcos, Texas.