Expectations were high as the women’s golf team hosted the Drake Creek Invitational in Ledbetter, Ky., Sept. 9-10.
The Racers won the tournament overall by 28 shots, and senior Delaney Howson led the rest of the field by 13 shots.
Head Coach Velvet Milkman said she was confident before the tournament got started.
“I knew it was a tournament that we could win because we were comfortable on that golf course,” Milkman said. “Delaney is our senior, a very good player. I anticipated her to do very well. I knew she could win if she played to her potential.”
Howson is not unaccustomed to winning on home turf. After winning the Time Warner Classic at Miller Memorial Golf Course in Murray last season, she set her sights on this week’s tournament.
“I guess throughout my four years I had wanted to win both of our home tournaments,” Howson said. “I had won Miller last year, so I made it a goal to win Drake’s home tournament.”
Howson is the first Racer to win this tournament individually, and was named OVC Golfer of the Week.
Milkman spoke highly of Howson, while also giving credit to the rest of her young squad for the team win.
“I’m very proud of her, but I wouldn’t have been able to win this event if the team hadn’t played well all around,” she said.
Sophomore Sophie Hillier placed sixth in the tournament, while freshmen Sydney Trimble and Jackie Van Meter shared fourth place overall. They all accompanied Howson on the All-Tournament team.
“We have a very young team this year, and for us to go out and win by 28 shots, it was a little shocking,” Howson said. “Usually your first tournament as a freshman can be a little shaky, but they were very consistent and showed a lot of maturity.”
Hoswon said the team expected to have a pretty good chance of winning.
“Winning by that much just showed that we’re here to compete even though we’re young,” she said.
As for the rest of the season, both Howson and Milkman said the combination of this win and continued hard work will move them forward with confidence.
“We still have to continue to work very hard,” Milkman said. “We’re off to a good start, but there’s still room for improvement. But I’m pleased with where we started and know there’s potential to do well for the rest of the year.”
Milkman said she expects the confidence gained will feed over into the next event against Louisville.
The Racers will compete in the Cardinal Cup Monday and Tuesday.
Story by Mallory Tucker, Contributing Writer