BEMIDJI, Minn. -- With the leaves and weather changing and hunting season in its prime, the average Bemidji citizen isn’t quite gearing up for a round of 18-holes on the links. For the Bemidji State University women’s golf team however, it is the midst of the fall portion of its golf season. The Beavers will get home course advantage for the first time in over ten years when they host the BSU Invitational on Friday at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
The team has only had a handful of golf meets in Bemidji since its start in 1996, and the last scheduled home meet was in 2003, but was cancelled due to weather. The BSU women’s golfers were just entering their teens the last time BSU even had a scheduled home meet.
First year head coach Mark Bagaason took the reigns of the BSU Women’s Golf team in mid-August to lead a team with a lot of youth, and no seniors on the roster. He appointed Kathryn Stoffels (Jr, Maple Grove, Minn.), Kailey Cox (Jr, Lethbridge, Alberta) and Rachel Wold (So, Crookston, Minn.) as the 2011 captains and to help him transition to the program.
Stoffels is the teams' most experienced golfer and has led the team on and off the course early this season. With and average round score of 89.0 in her first four rounds, she owns three of the Beavers' four lowest rounds, including a season-low round of 85.
“Kathryn knows the program, how it operates, and has been very helpful to the newcomers.” Bagaason said of Stoffels, whose 24 rounds is the most of any active BSU Women’s golfer.
Cox is in a unique situation for any collegiate athlete. She is brand-new to the women’s golf team, but has been at BSU for two years prior to joining the team, and was named co-captain before even stepping foot onto a green as a college golfer. After playing two seasons with the women’s hockey team, Cox traded in her hockey gear for golf clubs and joined the golf team.
Coach Bagaason on Cox, “Kailey is a breath of fresh air and has proven her worth already by taking the freshmen under her wing and helping them adjust to BSU.” As one of two juniors on the team, she was placed into a leadership role immediately and has thrived under the special circumstances.
Wold is a sophomore who finished last season with the second-lowest round on the team, behind Stoffels. Her low round score of 87 was nearly eight strokes better than her average score of 94.9.
“Rachel brings experience back and has shown good leadership skills with our new faces,” Bagaason said of his sophomore captain. With just two juniors on the roster, and only one of them with playing experience, Wold has needed to step up on and off the course and jump into a leadership role quickly.
With meets as far away as Palm Desert, California last season, the BSU women’s golfers will get the new experience of sleeping in their own beds the night before a tournament. With the men’s BSU Invitational in it’s 62nd year, the women hope they can equal the success the tournament has had, and make it a staple in their schedule each year as well.
The Beavers host University of Minensota, Crookston and Minnesota State University Moorhead Friday for the 18-hole event. Tee times are set to begin at 1 p.m. at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.