NEB WGOLF: Young Huskers Open Season at Ptarmigan Ram Classic

Posted By: Sports

sports@klkntv.com

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

The Nebraska women’s golf team opens its 2016-17 season at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic hosted by Colorado State, Sept. 12-13.

The two-day, 54-hole tournament features five-count-four scoring for the 15-team field on the par-72, 6,354-yard layout of the Ptarmigan Country Club. Nebraska will open the the tournament with 36 holes beginning with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. (CT) on Monday, Sept. 12. The tournament concludes with the final 18 holes on Tuesday with a shotgun start again at 9:30 a.m. (CT).

The Huskers head to Colorado with a five-player lineup that features three true freshmen, including No. 1 qualifier Kate Smith (Detroit Lakes, Minn.), No. 3 qualifier Pasinee “Annie” Sritragul (Bangkok, Thailand) and No. 4 qualifier Claire Robertson (Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland).

Live scoring will be available from BirdieFire.com.

2016 Ptarmigan Ram Classic

Location: Fort Collins, Colo.
Course: Ptarmigan Country Club
Par/Yardage: 72/6,354
Start Times
Monday, Sept. 12 – 9:30 a.m. (CT) [Shotgun]
Tuesday, Sept. 13 – 9:30 a.m. (CT) [Shotgun]

Participating Teams (15)

  • Boise State
  • Colorado State
  • Gonzaga
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Long Beach State
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Northern Colordo
  • Oregon State
  • Portland State
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose State
  • UC Irvine
  • Wyoming

Nebraska Lineup

1. Kate Smith
2. Emily Gillman
3. Annie Sritragul
4. Claire Robertson
5. Sarah Pravecek

Freshmen Take Center Stage For Young Huskers in 2016-17
Nebraska will put one of its youngest lineups in school history on the course for the 2016-17 season. The Huskers will replace 2015-16 seniors Cassie Deeg, Morgan Smejkal and Cassidy Stelzmiller with three true freshmen to open the season at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic.

Not only must the Huskers replace three seniors, including fifth-year seniors Smejkal and Stelzmiller, they must also compensate for the loss of Haley Thiele. The sophomore from Wahoo, Neb., produced the best freshman stroke average (75.63) in school history in 2015-16 and was Nebraska’s No. 2 finisher at the Big Ten Championships. Thiele is expected to redshirt in 2016-17 while recovering from a wrist injury.

With four open spots in the lineup and just one senior – Sarah Pravecek – on the roster, the four members of Nebraska’s freshman class will get chances to prove themselves in the lineup early in their careers.

The freshmen did exactly that in pre-tournament qualifying for the opener at Colorado State. Kate Smith (Detroit Lakes, Minn.), who is the only five-time Minnesota High School State Champion in history, will occupy the No. 1 position in Nebraska’s lineup at CSU. Junior Emily Gillman performed extremely well in qualifying to earn the No. 2 spot, while Nebraska’s first-ever golfer from Thailand, Pasinee “Annie” Sritragul (Bangkok) claimed the No. 3 spot. Claire Robertson (Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland) earned the No. 4 position in qualifying, while senior Sarah Pravecek (Omaha, Neb.) claimed Nebraska’s final spot by beating out junior and two-year lineup regular Audrey Judd (Olathe, Kan.) in a playoff in qualifying.

Thiele Expected to Redshirt
Sophomore Haley Thiele is expected to redshirt during the 2016-17 women’s golf season while recovering from a wrist injury that kept her out of action throughout the summer of 2016.
Thiele produced arguably the best freshman season in Nebraska history in 2015-16, notching a freshman school-record 75.63 stroke average. She also closed her rookie year as NU’s No. 2 finisher at the Big Ten Championships in 39th place. During the season, Thiele tied the Husker freshman record with a five-under-par 67 at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown while matching first-team All-American Sarah Sasse’s overall school record with a three-round tournament score of 209.

“Haley showed her outstanding potential last year, but we all feel like she has a lot of great golf ahead of her,” Nebraska Coach Robin Krapfl said. “Her injury kept her off the course the entire summer, and she has a good plan in place for a complete recovery. We know it is the best thing for her future as a golfer and for our program, but we will certainly miss her on the course with us this season.”

Praveck Provides Senior Presence
Sarah Pravecek is the lone senior on Nebraska’s 2016-17 roster. The fourth-year golfer from Omaha competed for the Big Red at each of the last two Big Ten Championships. She produced a 77.83 stroke average over 24 rounds as a junior.

Pravecek has played 51 career rounds for the Huskers over the past three seasons and is looking to become a fixture in the lineup in her final season in Lincoln.

Off the course, Pravecek is a two-time academic All-Big Ten selection and was a member of the 2016 Tom Osborne Citizenship Team for her commitment to Nebraska’s community outreach and leadership efforts.

“We are looking forward to Sarah having her best season as a Husker,” Krapfl said. “We will need her to be a leader for us on and off the course since we have such a young team.”

Junior Class Could be Key to Huskers’ 2016-17 Success
Audrey Judd and Emily Gillman will play major roles for the Huskers both on and off the course in 2016-17. Judd, a junior from Olathe, Kan., was a regular in Nebraska’s lineup in her first two seasons in the program. As a freshman, she played 24 rounds for the Big Red and finished with a 78.08 average. She competed for Nebraska at the 2015 and 2016 Big Ten Championships.
“Audrey has a lot of talent, and we think we can help her become a really good player,” Krapfl said. “She works hard at her game, and she really wants to help us improve as a team as she improves as a player.”

Judd also has demonstrated her leadership potential as a two-time member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team, while also earning academic All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore in 2016.
Gillman, a junior from Austin, Texas, competed in just 12 rounds for the Huskers as a sophomore. As a freshman, she played 27 rounds for the Big Red and produced a 78.22 stroke average. She was also in the lineup for the Huskers as a true freshman at the 2015 Big Ten Championships.
Off the course, Gillman was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and earned academic All-Big Ten accolades before being named to the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team.

“Emily has grown a lot as a golfer and a person in her first two years in our program, and we are looking forward to seeing that growth continue,” Krapfl said. “Emily is a terrific person, and she is focused on helping our team improve on and off the course.”

Smith Steps to Top of Lineup
Kate Smith certainly has the potential to make an immediate impact on the Nebraska lineup.
The true freshman from Detroit Lakes, Minn., is the only five-time individual state champion in Minnesota high school history. She capped her career by claiming a share of her record fifth title on June 15, while leading Detroit Lakes High School to its fourth state team championship in the past five years.

The winner of the 2016 Minnesota Ms. Golf Award, Smith set three course records as a senior, including a 64 at The Vintage Course. As a junior, she produced a stellar 70.37 stroke average.
Smith earned the No. 1 spot in Nebraska’s five-player lineup for the Ptarmigan Ram Classic to open her freshman season at Nebraska.

Smith continues a tradition of top golfers from the state of Minnesota playing at Nebraska, including Cassie Deeg (Hugo, 2013-16), Steffi Neisen (New Prague, 2011-14), Chrissie McArdle (Eden Prairie, 2004-07) and Jackie Beste (2003-06). In fact, the 2016-17 season will mark the seventh consecutive year that Nebraska has had at least one Minnesota golfer in its lineup.
“We are very excited to have Kate join our program. She has the innate ability to get the ball in the hole and does not back away from competition,” Krapfl said. “She possesses excellent short-game skills, knows how to win, and has a great work ethic both on and off the course. We’ve had some excellent Minnesotans represent our program. Kate has the potential to be the best of all of them.”

Nebraska’s 2016 Senior Trio
Cassie Deeg, Morgan Smejkal and Cassidy Stelzmiller made up a three-golfer senior class that led the Huskers on and off the course in 2015-16.

A four-year starter from Hugo, Minn., Deeg produced Nebraska’s top stroke average (75.38) last season on her way to the second-best career stroke average (76.31) in Husker history. She was a two-time Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner (2015, 2016) and won a prestigious Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award in 2015.

Smejkal, a fifth-year senior from Columbus, notched Nebraska’s No. 3 stroke average (75.75) a year ago. A four-time academic All-Big Ten selection, Smejkal was a HERO Leadership Award winner in 2014.

Stelzmiller gave Nebraska a pair of fifth-year seniors in 2016. The Placerville, Calif., native enjoyed her best season as a senior and produced her second career top-25 finish at the Big Ten Championships (25th).

A three-time WGCA Scholastic All-American and a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Stelzmiller earned her bachelor’s degree as an accounting major at Nebraska in December 2015. She also earned a prestigious Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award in 2016.

Big Red Face Solid Schedule
The Huskers will face another challenging schedule in 2016-17, beginning with the Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Fort Collins, Colo., Sept. 12-13. The Huskers continue the fall with the East & West Match Play Challenge at Radrick Farms Golf Course in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sept. 18-20. The unique event begins with 36 holes of stroke play on Sunday, Sept. 18, with match play on Sept. 19 and 20.

Nebraska make its only home appearance of the year at the 2016 Chip-N Club Invitational at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln, Sept. 25-27.

The Huskers return to Colorado for the Ron Moore Intercollegiate in Denver, Oct. 7-9, before wrapping up the fall portion of the schedule at the UNLV Collegiate Showdown in Boulder City, Nev., Oct. 23-25.

The spring schedule tees off with the Central District Invitational in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Feb. 20-21, before the Huskers return to the Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, Ariz., Feb. 26-27. Three weeks later, Nebraska returns to Arizona for the Clover Cup in Mesa, March 17-19, before concluding the regular season at the Hawkeye El Tigre in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, April 2-4.

The Big Red will head to Maineville, Ohio, to compete at the Big Ten Championships, April 21-23, 2017. The Huskers will compete for the conference crown on the Arnold Palmer-designed Tournament Players Club River’s Bend Course.

Nebraska hopes to contend for its 12th NCAA Regional bid since 1994. NCAA Regional competitions will be held in Columbus, Ohio (Ohio State), Lubbock, Texas (Texas Tech), Albuquerque, N.M. (New Mexico) and Greenville, N.C. (East Carolina) May 8-10, before the NCAA Championships are held at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., May 18-24.

Huskers Set Pace in Classroom
Nebraska leads the nation with 69 WGCA Scholastic All-Americans since 1989.
Cassidy Stelzmiller earned the third WGCA Scholastic All-America award of her career in 2016. She also claimed the honor in 2013 and 2015. Stelzmiller, who was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2013 and 2015, joined Haley Thiele in capturing the WGCA Scholastic honor in 2016.

Emily Gillman was a 2015 WGCA Scholastic All-America award winner. Gillman added a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar award in 2016.

Five Husker golfers earned academic All-Big Ten accolades in 2016, including Stelzmiller, Cassie Deeg, Morgan Smejkal, Sarah Pravecek and Audrey Judd.

Overall, Nebraska owns one of the richest academic traditions in all of collegiate sports with a nation-leading 325 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans across all teams and all sports. NU also leads the nation with 17 NCAA Top Ten Award winners.