FISHERS, Ind. -- Ball State women’s golfer Jenna Hague held onto her overnight lead to win The 2013 Preview, tying the Mid-American Conference record for career victories in the process.
Hague and teammate Mary Welch fired 75s in Tuesday’s final round, helping Ball State match Toledo for the low score of the day at 307. The Cardinals finished the day where they started, in second place, seven strokes behind the champion Rockets at the Hawthorns Golf & Country Club.
Ball State finished 14 shots clear of third-place teams Eastern Michigan and Eastern Kentucky, while Hague claimed a two-shot win over Toledo’s Manisa Isavas.
Hague finished with a two-day total of 3-over par 147 on the way to the sixth tournament win of her career. Western Michigan’s Erica Bieniek and Kent State’s Martina Gillen, both of who played in the early 2000s, are the only other MAC women’s golfers to ever win six times.
“If you’re winning, you’re giving your team good scores,” Hague said. “Winning individually is a bonus. We definitely put together a better score as a team today. We are talented enough and deep enough, and today we were able to get four scores going. We just need to build off this and keep everyone’s confidence high.”
Welch’s 75 matched her low score of the year as she moved up the leaderboard to finish in a tie for 13th with a 36-hole total of 157. The former transfer recorded the best result of her Ball State career and was one of four Cardinals to finish among the top 20 in the field of 94 golfers.
Sarah Westaway carded a 78 for the second day in a row to finish one stroke ahead of Welch at 156. She tied for 11th place for the best result of her career in an event of at least 36 holes. Meghan Perry posted her second consecutive round of 79 to tie for 16th at 158, notching her second top-20 result of the year.
“We had to figure Toledo wasn’t going to give us anything, so we knew we would have to make some substantial gains in order to catch them,” Ball State coach Katherine Mowat said. “The big factor today was our No. 4, Mary, stepping up and posting a 75. That’s the difference in today’s round being better than yesterday.”
Hague won for the second time in four tournaments this season and has now won twice in all three of her years at Ball State. The junior from Burlington, Ontario, has needed only 28 career tournaments for her six victories. She has now finished in the top 10 at six straight events dating back to last season.
It was her second tournament victory at Hawthorns, where she took medalist honors at the 2012 MAC Championships as a freshman.
“When I start thinking about her sixth win, the most in school history and the most in MAC history, it really is overwhelming,” Mowat said. “I really do believe that to win one college golf tournament is an incredible feat. She’s done it six times, and it’s so remarkable. The best thing I can say about Jenna is she is a team player and she plays for the team through and through.”
The second-place team showing was the second for Ball State this season. The Cardinals came up just short of defending their Preview title, but the team boasted the individual medalist for the second year in a row. Perry won last year’s event at Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio.
This week’s event featured eight MAC teams in addition to eight programs from outside the league and was played on the same course that will host the MAC Championships in the spring.
Ball State will conclude its fall campaign Oct. 19-20 at the Hoosier Fall Invitational hosted by Indiana at Hickory Stick Golf Course in Greenwood, Ind.