Pioneers Set to Take Next Step for Upcoming Season

Sept. 7, 2017

DENVER – The University of Denver women’s golf team likes to win. They have shown that by capturing the Summit League Championship the last four years when they first joined the league – and running up their total to 14 straight conference/league titles.

But now the Pioneers are looking for a new challenge. They are looking to become more than just league champions. They want to rise up to compete on a national level, something head coach Lindsay Kuhle has always challenged her players to do.

“Our goal first and foremost is to get back to the national championship and compete for the title,” Kuhle said. “In order to make this happen we will talk about specific goals with fairways hit, greens hit, improving our short game, putting, and limiting the three putts. We have nine very solid players on our team and I know the competition within the team will alone make our players better, learn from each other, and develop their games even more.

“I am excited about that. I do think if we can limit the compounding mistakes on certain holes and eliminate large numbers by staying competitive, confident, and aggressive during play, we will lower our team scoring average from last year. If we can compete in four tournaments this fall and have the chance to contend for a title in two of them, like last year, we will have great confidence going into the spring season, which is exactly what we want.

“Our culture is very important on this team and I know that all nine players love golf,” Kuhle added. “They want to be successful in it and school and that alone, will help our team continue to have success. Great chemistry is the key.”

Leading the way for the DU team this fall will be interim head coach Kolton Lapa. The second-year coach will run the show during the fall portion while Kuhle helps raise her new young baby that she had over the summer. Lapa, a former collegiate standout at Arizona and Nebraska, is more than capable and holds the same expectations that Kuhle has.


 

 

“I will be looking for the same things that Lindsay and I will continue to talk about all year,” Lapa said. “A positive attitude that will first and foremost represent our university in a positive manner. Along with that, I will also be looking for the girls to be confident.

“I believe we have something very special this year and I will be speaking to them a lot about it as the fall moves on. Our goal this year and every year is to play for a national championship and I will really be looking for the girls to carry themselves in the belief that we can make it to Stillwater, Okla. and have that competitive fire in their eye.”

And with the lineup returning, they are more than capable of doing that. DU returns three seniors who all played a lot last season in Lauren Whyte, Jessica Dreesbeimdieke and Sonya Knebel. Whyte was a second-team all-league selection last year while Dreesbeimdieke recorded three top-10 finishes on the season. 

Also back is junior Sophie Newlove, who was named Summit League Women’s Golfer of the Week once in 2016-17. Sophomores Camille Enright and Maggie Cowart each return looking to build on their freshmen campaigns.

The returning core players will immediately have their work cut out for them with the Dick McGuire Invitational right out the gate on Sept. 11. The 54-hole event has always featured a very deep and talented field. It also offers the chance for Lapa to get to grow into the coaching role he will handle for the fall.

“This opportunity is something that doesn’t come along very often this early in a coaching career but I know Lindsay has a lot of belief in me which makes my job easier,” said Lapa about getting the chance to be a head coach at a young age. “I feel like she has really given me a lot of responsibility and I am so grateful for that. My goal is to continue to be uplifting and act in a positive manner to all of our girls. I really enjoy keeping it loose and having a lot of fun on the road and that will continue to be my goal all fall. I believe with the right mindset from our team and the right amount of work ethic we will have a great fall/spring.”

When asked about what made her decide on the former Wildcat to run the program during the fall, Kuhle said “Kolton is a natural leader and so incredibly passionate about golf and coaching, that is why it was an easy decision for me to let him lead the program. He wants success and to lead our team with such passion that I know he will do his best for the ladies.

“They will all play for him, the coaches, each other, and the program this season, which will be fun to watch. He was a great player in college and can easily relate to college players. He had great success last year coaching the team in tournaments and walking with them, and now understands the administration part of college golf and coaching, as well as the organizational part and on-course coaching, and I have complete trust in him.”

Joining the squad this season is the trio of Mary Weinstein, Caroline Klemp and Anni Heck. Weinstein is a former All-America selection last year in her lone season at Regis in Division II. Klemp and Heck bring some great ball-striking ability to the team.

“I’m very excited for the girls that we have coming in for this year,” Lapa said. “Mary, a transfer from Regis University, brings a lot to the table for our team. She had a great summer by qualifying for the U.S Women’s Amateur Championship and she also played well in many tournaments here in Colorado over the summer. She knows what it is like to go low and she has the self-confidence and belief in her game that I truly appreciate and admire.

“Anni and Caroline both bring a lot of talent to our team. They both had unbelievable junior golf careers and we couldn’t be more excited to have them on campus now. Caroline was named all-state her senior year, she was a regional champion as a senior and she took runner-up at the state championship as an individual. She is a great ball striker and I know she will fit in perfectly with our girls.

“Anni is the 2016 state champion in Minnesota, she was a two-time section champion during her junior and senior year,” added Lapa. “The last time I saw Anni play, she won a very good junior golf tournament in Florida. Both of our freshmen are so sweet and a pleasure to be around. Lindsay and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to bring in this year.”

The Crimson and Gold have to tools to take the next step and it all starts on Sept. 11.

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