Women's Golf Sets School Record For Wins
Much like their counterparts on the menís side, Oaklandís womenís golf squad entered the 2004-05 campaign with a sense of optimism. The team had lost just one of its top players from the previous season when the Golden Grizzlies had risen to a second-place finish at the Mid-Con tournament, matching the teamís best finish since joining the league. The optimism proved to be legit, as the Golden Grizzlies posted one of their most successful seasons in history, setting a school record with four wins and finishing second at the Mid-Con Championships.
Starting the season at the Laker Fall Classic in Michigan, Oakland confirmed that it would be a squad to be reckoned with over the course of the season, finishing a solid fourth in the 17-team field. Junior Patricia Ellsworth (Leamington, Ontario) finished the 36-hole event in what would be a familiar position for her for the rest of the season, among the top-five. She fired a second round 75 to finish with a 156 for a fifth-place finish.
For the rest of the season Ellsworth would prove to be both Oaklandís top and its most consistent golfer. She had OUís low score in every tournament but one, notching seven top-five finishes in her nine outings with a pair of wins. For the season she led the team with a stroke average of 78.68, a mark that was third best in the Mid-Con, and paced the conference with six Mid-Con Golfer of the Week awards.
After the solid showing to start off the season, Oakland moved up a notch to third at the Lady Falcon Invitational, finishing just nine strokes off the pace. The Golden Grizzlies fell back to a sixth-place showing at the Eastern Kentucky tournament; but that would turn out to be the worst showing of the season for OU as the team slowly improved over the rest of the fall season and into the spring..
Oakland closed out the fall portion of the schedule on a hot streak, winning its next two tournaments before taking the winter break from competition. The Golden Grizzlies notched their first victory of the season at the Dayton Fall Invitational, getting a five-stroke win over the host Flyers. For the first time during the season OU place three of its golfers in the top-five, with Ellsworth leading the way with a tie for second. Sophomore Christina Cibrario (Milford, Mich.) matched Ellsworth with a second-place finish while sophomore Stacey Goins (Rochester Hills, Mich.) finished fifth to help the Golden Grizzlies to the win.
At Cleveland State it was a dominant performance for OU, as the team won going away by 21 strokes. Ellsworth won her first career individual title, including a career-best 74 on her card to finish with a 154. Senior Leigh Gulbransen (Tecumseh, Ontario) had her best outing of the season with her third-place score of 158 as Oakland won back-to-back tournaments for the first time since OUís move to Division I.
Despite the layoff for winter, Oakland did not let up in its first outing of the spring when it took its third straight team title with a win at the Butler Spring Invitational. It was nip and tuck all the way, but in the end it was the Golden Grizzlies who held on and took a two-stroke win over Ball State, with Ellsworth and Cibrario each recording top-five finishes.
After a fourth-place showing at the Cincinnati/Dayton tournament, Oakland had its final tune up for the Mid-Con championship outing with an appearance at the Rambler Invitational in Chicago. OU showed that it deserved consideration as a contender at the upcoming Mid-Con outing with an 11-shot victory over a field that had two other Mid-Con schools in it. Ellsworth once again led the way with her second win of the season, taking a narrow one-stroke win with rounds of 74 and 76.
Despite shooting one of only two scores below 1,000 strokes at the Mid-Con Championship, Oakland did not have enough to overcome a strong performance by Oral Roberts, finishing second for a second straight season. Oakland did place three players in the top-10 in the individual standings, with all taking home second team All-Mid-Con honors. Cibrario had the top finish for the Golden Grizzlies with a sixth-place effort. Ellsworth and Goins came in a eighth and ninth, respectively, as OU came a way with a school record for all-conference awards for a season.