University of South Dakota freshman golfer Brenna Lervick made a 12-feet birdie putt on her 18th hole of the day to force a playoff, and beat North Dakota State’s Sarah Storandt on the first playoff hole to win South Dakota State’s Jackrabbit Fall Invitational Tuesday. It was the first victory by a Coyote since Amber Luitjens tied for first place at the Cobber Invitational back in September of 2007.
The 54-hole event took place Monday and Tuesday at Minnehaha Country Club and featured 48 golfers from eight teams. The Coyotes placed sixth in the team race at +129. South Dakota State won the event at +98.
Lervick entered Tuesday’s final round at 10-over-par and with a three-stroke lead over South Dakota State’s Sydney Macdonald. Storandt started four strokes back in third place.
Lervick bogeyed four of her first six holes including a double bogey on 14, her second hole of the day. She settled down to par five of her next six and was tied with Storandt at +19 with three holes to play.
“My nerves got the best of me early and I wasn’t quite as sharp as I was yesterday,” said Lerving. “Coach (Jon) Vining started talking to me and asked me to stop and breathe at one point and that got me back into it.”
Macdonald shot 10-over-par Tuesday and finished in fifth place. Storandt, who started her day on hole 10, parred her final three holes to finish at 19-over. Lervick, who didn’t know she was in a tie for the lead until there were three holes left, bogeyed the par 3 10th hole to slip to +20. Her birdie on 12 was her first of the round and one of four birdies on the hole all day.
“I knew I wasn’t playing well and was down in the dumps when Coach told me I was tied for the lead,” said Lervick. “I knew I probably needed to birdie the last one to have a chance.”
Lervick hit the fairway on the par 5 12th hole, laid up to 100 yards away and hit a gap wedge to 12 feet. She gave a little fist pump after sinking the downhill putt.
“Brenna doesn’t get overly excited on the golf course, so I told her she should do something, first pump, whenever she makes a birdie putt of 10-feet or more,” said USD head coach Nick Hovden. “That was her first fist pump.”
Lervick and Storandt then paired up for the first time all tournament and replayed the 18th hole, a 360-yard par 4 that ranked as the fifth-toughest of the tournament. Storandt’s tee shot was mishit, dribbled into a little creek in front of the tee box and wasn’t playable. She was forced to re-tee. Lervick hit the fairway, reached the green from there and two putted for the win.
“It wasn’t a super exciting final hole,” said Lervick. “I was back to a nine or 10 on the nervous scale while standing on the tee box, but I hit a good tee shot after Sarah’s mishit and that put me in good position.”
USD junior Janice Baumberger shot the Coyotes’ low round of the day Tuesday at 7-over-par and finished the tournament in 20th place at +33. Sophomore Alyna Vaughan matched Lervick’s opening round 77 (+6) and finished in 15th place at +30.
The Coyotes next compete Oct. 5-7 at a tournament hosted by Xavier in Daytona Beach, FL.