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Michigan Team Heads to USGA Women’s State Team Championship
Written By: ssmiley@gam.org

Michigan Team Heads to USGA Women’s State Team Championship

By Susan Smiley

GAM Director of Membership & Communications

Jennifer Elsholz, 22, of Grand Rapids; Enid Gage, 33, of Wyoming; and Sarah Hoffman, 25, of Saline make up Michigan’s team for the USGA Women’s State Team Championship at Dalhousie Golf Club Sept. 10-12.

Each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico may enter a three-person team with current college players being ineligible per NCAA rules. Teams compete for 54 holes of stroke play with the lowest two scores of the three rounds counting as the team’s score for that round. The team with the lowest score through all 54 holes will be the champion. In 2010, the USGA decided to alternate years for the Men’s and Women’s State Team Championship, with the men playing in even-numbered years and the women in odd years.

Michigan has not experienced much success in previous tournaments, but 2015 team members have high hopes. In the most-recent 2013 competition, Michigan finished tied for 15th with Oregon and Kentucky.  That was Michigan’s best finish since 1999 when the team tied for seventh place with Washington and South Carolina at Golden Horseshoe GC in Virginia. Georgia holds the record for most Women’s State Team championships with three.

Michigan’s team members are thrilled to participate in the year’s event and believe they can make a strong showing for their home state.

“I’m very excited to be playing on the state team,” says Elsholz. “It is a great honor because there are only three women on the team and to be selected means something special. It is different than a normal competition because we are a team, but I’m thinking it will feel like I did when I played at Toledo: you don’t only want to play well for yourself; you want to play well for your team. It will be fun!”

 

Jennifer Elsholz is excited to compete in the USGA State Team in September.  

 

“The team concept is great,” says Gage. “It's been a long time-9 years since I played team golf in college-but it's a great feeling knowing there are two other girls out there encouraging you, and doing the same for them. It's a relief for me to have two great team mates like Sarah and Jennifer.”

Gage was completely surprised to receive the call from GAM Tournament Director Ken Hartmann inviting her to join “Team Michigan”.  She says she is both excited and honored to be part of the competition and believes she and her teammates can make a solid run at the championship.

“It is such a cool concept and layout,” says Gage. “We have such a great team; Sarah and Jennifer are great golfers with abilities to go low. Their golf careers are impressive and they are strong competitors so I’m excited to see what we can do as a team!”

 

Enid Gage was surprised to get an invitation to be part of the State Team.  

 

Elsholz was the GAM Women’s Player of the Year in 2014 when she won both the Michigan Women’s Amateur and GAM Women’s Championship. Hoffman finished tied for 8th at the Michigan Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain this year and was GLIAC Women’s Golf Athlete of the year in 2012 when she was a senior at Grand Valley State University.

“There is a short list of players who have gotten the chance to represent the state in this event and it is pretty awesome that I can add my name to that list,” says Gage.

Dalhousie has been named the number-one golf course in Missouri and the Michigan team expects fast greens and challenging rough.  While the team does not have a specific strategy, entering the tournament with a positive attitude and staying even keel for three rounds is part of the plan.

“I don’t think we have any other team strategy in place other than playing well,” says Elsholz. “We’re all going to encourage one another no matter what happens, but it's all about going out there and enjoying the opportunity we've been given to play for our state.”

Elsholz says her putting has always been the strong point of her game so making key putts is something on which she is focused. Gage too is strong on the green but says that this season; other parts of her game have really been clicking.

“This year I’ve also been driving the ball much straighter and hitting more fairways,” says Gage. “Hopefully I can keep that up.

“Personally, I have to remember: one shot at a time, one hole at a time, one round at a time. An old teammate at Grand Valley told me that it only takes one good shot to make a par. There is a lot of golf to be played in this event and we all have the ability to shoot some low numbers. As a team, we just have to go out and take care of business.”  

For more information on the USGA State Team or to follow live scoring at the event: http://www.usga.org/championships/2015/usga-women-s-state-team.html

Sarah Hoffman rounds out Michigan's team for the USGA Women's State Team in Missouri. 
 
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