WARRENSBURG -- Seven years since launching the program, Central Missouri women’s golf has its first win streak.
UCM junior and Sacred Heart alumna Olivia Sobaski shot a two-day total of 149 to help the Jennies claim victory at their 14-team home tournament Tuesday at Keth Memorial Golf Course at Mules National Golf Club.
Central Missouri finished with a team score of 614, Missouri Western followed at 629 and Northwest Missouri totaled 640.
Last week, the Jennies opened their spring season with a team title at the Missouri Western Holiday Inn Express Classic. Winning the Jennies Golf Invitational marks the first stretch of back-to-back titles in program history.
Chris Port, the first and current head coach of the Jens, said he is proud of the program’s rapid progress since its inaugural season in 2012-13.
“What I do on days like today is go, ‘I can’t go back and do that again,’” Port said with a laugh. “It’s been really fun to build a program and again, the credit all goes to the players. It’s nice to see us keep taking progressions. Hopefully this year we have an opportunity to go to the national tournament.
“That’s the goal this year, and I think we have a shot to do that.”
Missouri Western senior Shi Qing Ong captured medalist honors with a 2-under-par 144.
Jennies freshman Molly Saporito tied for third at 151 and junior Madison Grisham followed in sixth with a 155. Rounding out the lineup was UCM freshman Rosie Klausner, who shaved five strokes from her score Monday to card a 77.
Prior to the spring season, Central Missouri captured their third overall and first-ever fall season victory Sept. 23 at the Mustang Invitational in Marshall, Minnesota.
Sobaski paced the team as medalist en route to victory in Minnesota, and has been a catalyst for program improvement since her arrival. She was the team’s first individual champion at the 2016 MIAA Fall Preview and was the low card the following April as the team claimed their first ever team title at the Upper Iowa Invite. Last May, she was first to represent the Jennies at the NCAA Championships.
“There’s no question that what she’s done over the last three years has helped us get other players,” Port said. “People look at our program now as a program to go to. Seven years ago, I was selling playing time. Now, I’m selling the opportunity to compete for team championships, conference and regional championships and an opportunity to go to the national tournament.”
As individual success translated to team success, Sobaski has improved as a teammate. While the qualifying rounds are more competitive than in years past, that competition has produced inspired performances.
“I love having teammates who push me everyday,” Sobaski said. “I lost a tournament to Rosie by one [stroke] in the fall, and I’ve never been happier to lose a tournament. Knowing that I’m going out there and playing my best, and everyone else is doing the same, is just a really awesome feeling.
“I definitely am more focused when there is something on the line.”
After firing a 79 on Monday, Sobaski improved her score by nine strokes Tuesday. She carded 23 pars on the tournament and led the field alongside Missouri Western freshman Anna Bech with five birdies apiece.
While Sobaski aims to return to the NCAA Championships -- this year with the rest of the team -- she prefers a patient, week-to-week approach. She is focused on Saturday, March 30, when the Jennies return to Waterloo, Iowa as defending champs of the Upper Iowa Invitational.
“We’re just going to go up with the mentality that we’re working hard, and our work is going to pay off,” Sobaski said.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.