By Heather Keller
The Sacred Heart University women’s golf team had a strong showing at the Navy Fall Invitational, their first of the season.
The tournament took place Sept. 10-11 at the Naval Academy Golf Course. Senior Ellen Nighbor took first place over 77 athletes with a two-day score of 148 to finish four over-par.
“By coming out of the gate with an under par round, she really set the tone for the rest of the team and the rest of the season,” said sophomore Chelsea Sedlar, who finished the weekend tied for 14.
Teammates and coaches have witnessed Nighbor’s growth through her time as a collegiate golfer. The win at Navy was a culmination of the determination and dedication she has to the program.
“Ellen has gained a level of maturity and confidence since her freshman year,” said head men’s and women’s golf coach, Matthew McGreevy. “She has been a four year starter and has improved steadily every year.”
In Nighbor’s two previous trips to the Navy Fall Invitational, she finished tied for ninth in 2014 and for third in the 2015 tournament.
“I’ve performed well there [Naval Academy Golf Course],” said Nighbor. “I really wanted to end on a high note for my last collegiate tournament at that course.”
Taking the first place finish her senior year fits into the personal goals she has set for this season. Nighbor came into the year after having dedicated an extensive amount of time to practicing and becoming confident in her game.
That confidence was tested after a shaky start in her final round on Sunday.
“We were able to settle down and make a lot of quality shots coming down the stretch,” said McGreevy.
McGreevy saw the potential and focus in Nighbor to finish with the win in individual play as the tournament came to a close.
“I was happy to see her hard work pay off,” said McGreevy.
As a team, the Pioneers were +50 for the tournament, which was able to secure a fourth place finish, pointing towards an encouraging season to come.
Going into the season, players and coaches had individual and team goals formulating in their mind, knowing that their off-season practice would push them through the year.
“We look forward to giving this season our all and showing the northeast conference, and any other team that we play, what we have,” said Sedlar.
McGreevy’s outlook for the season matches that of his players.
“This is the deepest team we have had,” said McGreevy. “We are setting our sights on a conference championship, which would be a first in program history.”