Islander Classic Opens Spring Campaign For Drake Women's Golf
The Drake women’s golf team opens its spring campaign competing at the Islander Classic hosted by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this Monday (Feb. 24) and Tuesday (Feb. 25) in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The 54-hole event contested at the Corpus Christi Country Club swings into competition each day with a shotgun start. On Monday (Feb. 24) play begins at 8:30 a.m., while on Tuesday (Feb. 25) action gets underway at 8:15 a.m.
The 16-team field includes: Bradley, Central Arkansas, Drake, Houston Baptist, Lamar, McLennan C.C., North Texas, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma City, Oral Roberts, Sam Houston State, South Dakota, Stephen F. Austin, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M-Kingsville and UT-Pan American
A LOOK BACK
Junior Danielle Brooks (Red Wing, Minn.) and freshman Arianna Gastelum (Chula Vista, Calif.) shot final-round 75’s sparking Drake to a 13th-place showing at the Pat Bradley Invitational hosted by Florida International on Oct. 22, 2013, in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Buoyed by a 77 over her final 18 holes, senior Hadley Jennings (Trenton, Mo.) was Drake’s top finisher with a 225 (73-75-77) scorecard, good for a 28th-place effort.
Gastelum and Brooks followed Jennings in the tournament standings for the Bulldogs with 54-hole marks of 228 (76-77-75/T-41st) and 231 (79-77-75/T-51st), respectively.
Freshman Sarah Browning (Midhurst, Ontario) wrapped up her initial fall campaign with a final-round 77, good for a 236 (81-78-77/T-67th) total.
Junior Ashley Brooks (Red Wing, Minn.) equaled a career low, carding a score of 80 over the tournament’s final 18 holes to conclude her efforts with a 249 (86-83-80) scorecard.
DRAKE RESULTS: Hadley Jennings (73-75-77=225/T-28th), Arianna Gastelum (76-77-75=228/T-41st), Danielle Brooks (79-77-75=231/T-51st), Sarah Browning (81-78-77=236/T-67th) and Ashley Brooks (86-83-80=249/T-82nd).
A YEAR AGO
Directed by a 29th-place finish from Danielle Brooks, Drake garnered an 11th-place showing in its 2013 spring debut at the Jackrabbit Invitational hosted by South Dakota State at the Primm Valley Golf Club in Primm, Nev., on March 12, 2013.
Led by a tournament-low effort of 242 (83-79-80) from Brooks, the Bulldogs turned in rounds of 328 and 334 over the tournament’s final 36 holes to conclude the event with a 1,010 team total.
Improving her score every round to collect a 248 (86-83-79) mark was Hadley Jennings, who recorded a 44th-place tie.
Chelsey Falk notched the Bulldogs’ low round of the tournament with a second round 78, but was unable to hone in her game over the final 18 holes and wrapped up play with a 253 (86-78-89) effort, good for a 53rd-place tie.
DRAKE RESULTS: Danielle Brooks (83-79-80=242/T-29th), Hadley Jennings (86-83-79=248/T-44th), Chelsey Falk (86-78-89=253/T-53rd), Katie Clausen (93-88-86=267/63rd) and Ashley Brooks (93-94-92=279/68th).
• Danielle Brooks led the Bulldogs with a team-best 10 rounds in the 70’s this past fall. Hadley Jennings nearly matched her efforts firing nine rounds in the 70’s.
• Jennings recorded the Bulldogs’ low round of the fall, shooting a 72 to open the Redbird Invitational.
• As a team, the Bulldogs’ best round came over the first 18 holes of the Redbird Invitational as Drake carded a 300.
• Three Drake players enter play the at Islander Classic with scoring averages in the 70’s this season. Jennings leads the way with a team-low 77.7, followed by Arianna Gastelum (78.3) and Brooks (78.9).
EXPERIENCED SQUAD RETURNS FOR DRAKE
The Bulldogs return an experienced squad this season as senior Hadley Jennings, junior Danielle Brooks and sophomore Katie Clausen played in all 10 tournaments for Drake a year ago, while junior Ashley Brooks appeared in eight events. Added to the mix this season is a pair of freshmen in Sarah Browning and Arianna Gastelum. Rounding out the squad is redshirt junior Cristina Bowery (Carmel, Calif.).
DRAKE HEAD COACH LEANNE SMITH
Leanne Smith is in her fourth season as head women’s golf coach for the Bulldogs after serving as an assistant coach with the Drake men’s and women’s golf programs from 2006-10.
This past season, Drake earned top-10 finishes in six of the 10 tournaments the Bulldogs played in. Injuries to Kimmy Askelson and Cristina Bowery altered the lineup for Smith allowing her to provide valuable playing experience to her newcomers. Hadley Jennings registered a team-best 78.9 scoring average over 30 rounds, while Chelsey Falk and Danielle Brooks posted 80.0 and 81.7 scoring averages, respectively, in 30 rounds apiece.
Falk closed out her Drake women’s golf career in style shooting a 79 during the final round of the MVC Championship to earn a ninth-place finish. By virtue of her showing, Falk collected top-18 flag honors with a 54-hole mark of 244 (82-83-79). Only four golfers turned in a lower score over the final 18 holes than did Falk.
The Bulldogs garnered 42 rounds in the 70’s this fall, including a team-best performance from Jennings scoring 79 or better in a team-best 17 rounds during the season.
Off the course, Jennings garnered first-team MVC Scholar-Athlete accolades for the first time.
In 2012, Drake turned in top-10 finishes in six of its 10 tournament appearances. Smith guided the Bulldogs through a campaign in which Drake was challenged by injuries, including its top-scoring individual, Askelson, who was lost due to injury.
Askelson directed the Bulldogs with a team-low 79.7 scoring average in 12 rounds, while Jennings turned in an 80.1 average in 28 rounds.
In her initial campaign leading the Drake program she guided the Bulldogs to four top-six finishes, including three during the spring season.
Michelle Mathwick and Falk paced Drake, registering two-round totals of 155 to finish tied for 14th at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship. By virtue of her top-18 finish; Jennings joined the duo in receiving one of the coveted tournament flags given to the top-18 individuals in the standings.
Off the course, Mathwick, Jennings and Kaitlyn Mauk were named to the National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar-Athlete team, while Mathwick was selected as a first-team All-MVC Scholar-Athlete honoree.
Mathwick paced the Bulldogs in 2011 with a team-best 78.1 scoring average.
In eight years, Drake has scored six All-American Scholars in Katie Clausen (2013), Jennings (2011, 2012, 2013), Olivia Lansing (2008, 2009), Michelle Mathwick (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Kaitlyn Mauk (2011) and Elena Vukmir (2008,2009).
Lansing also garnered All-MVC medalist honors in 2008 and 2010, while earning an at-large berth in the 2010 NCAA Central Regional.
Smith, a Creston, Iowa, native was a four-year letterwinner at Iowa State, earning Big 12 Academic All-Conference honors in 2002 and 2003. She earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing, with a coaching minor, in 2004. She later added an MBA from Drake in 2009.
Smith played in the U.S. Amateur in 2001 and 2004 as well as the 2004 U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship. She won the Des Moines Women’s City Tournament in 2002 and 2004 and finished runner-up in the 2009 Iowa Women’s Amateur Golf Championship and placed third in 2012.
Smith turned pro in November of 2005 and played in the Futures Tour for two years.
Leanne and her husband, Russ, have two daughters, Adelaide and Eva, and one son, Graham.
Drake hosts the Monterey Bay Invitational (March 16-18) in Monterey, Calif.