Nebraska Women's Golf Tradition - - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site

Women's Golf

Nebraska Women's Golf Tradition

The Nebraska women's golf program carries a rich tradition of success. The Huskers have advanced to the NCAA Championships as a team three times since 2000, and have made 13 NCAA Regional appearances since 1994.

Nebraska continued its rise in national prominence by earning its second NCAA Regional berth in the past three years in 2023. The Huskers shattered their season stroke average record by more than six strokes (292.21) on their way to the 2023 NCAA Raleigh Regional. It followed a bid to the 2021 NCAA Columbus Regional, which came on the heels of a runner-up finish at the 2021 Big Ten Championship at TPC River's Bend in Maineville, Ohio. The performance marked Nebraska's best team finish at a conference tournament since a runner-up showing at the 1984 Big Eight Conference Championship.

Individually, Kelli Ann Strand produced the best season by a freshman in school history with a school-record 72.05 stroke average on her way to second-team All-Big Ten honors. Strand led Nebraska with a tie for 20th at the 2023 Big Ten Championship before leading NU with a tie for 30th at the NCAA Raleigh Regional. Strand's score of 220 (+4) at the NCAA Raleigh Regional matched the best regional score by a Husker in history.

In 2021, Kate Smith made history by becoming Nebraska's first Big Ten Conference champion in women's golf. Smith stormed to the title by tying her own school record with a final-round 64 (-8) on the 6,300-yard, par-72 layout at TPC River's Bend. She closed the 54-hole tournament at 207 (-9), three strokes ahead of Northwestern's Irene Kim to become Nebraska's first individual conference champion since Sarah Sasse in 2003 (Big 12). Smith added first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season, joining Sasse and Rachelle Tacha as the only multi-time all-conference women's golfers in school history.

Smith also became the first Husker to compete in the Augusta National Women's Amateur in April of 2021. The elite field featured the top 82 amateurs in the world, and Smith made national headlines by leading the tournament at the close of the rain-shortened first day. She followed her landmark appearance at Augusta by becoming the first Husker golfer to compete in the annual Arnold Palmer Cup. Smith played a role in three individual wins to help the United States to a team victory over its International counterparts at Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois. In 2020, Smith became the first Husker to earn the conference's Mary Fossum Award, which is presented to the golfer with the best stroke average relative to par throughout the season.

Kirsten Baete added All-Big Ten honors of her own in 2022 after earning a spot on the Big Ten All-Championship Team with her fourth-place finish at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh. Baete went on to earn a bid to the 2022 NCAA Stanford Regional and closed her career with a final-round 69 (-2) at the Stanford Golf Course to produce the best regional round by a Husker golfer in history. Her tie for 30th individually marked Nebraska's best regional finish since 2008.

Nebraska competed for the first time in the history-rich Big Ten Conference in 2011-12. Madeleine Sheils allowed NU to make a strong first impression by becoming the first Husker to claim All-Big Ten honors with her third-place finish at the Big Ten Championship. Sheils, a native of Boise, Idaho, went on to a professional career. She competed on the Symetra Tour in 2014 after making it to the final stage of LPGA Qualifying School. She made her LPGA debut at the 2014 Portland Classic.

All-Americans Sarah Sasse and Joanne Brooks helped write Nebraska's history in the Big Eight/Big 12 Conference through its first 36 seasons of women's golf. Nebraska was one of only five schools joining Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas, that captured more than one Big Eight/Big 12 women's golf team championship.

Nebraska captured the first Big Eight team title in 1976, before adding a crown in 1983. In 1996, Husker great Rachelle Tacha became the last individual to win a Big Eight Conference individual championship. Sasse added Nebraska's first individual Big 12 crown in 2003, while Kate Smith became NU's first Big Ten champion in 2021.

In addition to the steady success on the course, the Nebraska women's golf program is a national leader in the classroom. The Huskers have captured a nation-leading 90 WGCA Scholastic All-America awards since 1989, while Heidi Wall (Stark) became the program's first CoSIDA Academic All-American in 1996.

The links below will walk you through the rich tradition that continues to grow each season at Nebraska.