Four months after watching their CSU teammates win U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, Sloot and Greb earn medalist honors in Colorado qualifying for the same event
by Gary Baines
It’s been an eventful last several months for the Colorado State University women’s golf team.
In May, CSU teammates Katrina Prendergast and Ellen Secor won the national title at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship. In July, the Rams hired a new head coach, Laura Cilek. Last week, Prendergast led after the first two rounds of the CoBank Colorado Women’s Open and ended up finishing second while competing against a field comprised mainly of pros. And on Wednesday, for the third consecutive year in Colorado, a pair of CSU teammates earned medalist honors in the Colorado-based qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball.
And for the record, the college season hasn’t even begun.
CSU junior Jessica Sloot, from Fruit Heights, Utah, and sophomore teammate Haley Greb, from Pendleton, Ore., fired a 5-under-par 66 best-ball in Wednesday’s qualifying tournament at Fox Hollow Golf Course in Lakewood. That earned them the one available berth — out of an 11-team field — in the national Women’s Four-Ball, which will be played April 27-May 1 at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla. (The qualifiers are pictured, with Sloot at left.)
The last two years in the Colorado-based qualifying tournament, Prendergast and Secor were the medalists. And, as noted, they went on to win the national title in May, which makes them exempt from qualifying for the 2019 championship.
“Knowing that they won this event last year kind of drives us a little bit because we’re so competitive,” said Sloot, who will be going to her fifth USGA championship (second Four-Ball to go with three U.S. Girls’ Juniors). “We want to be there and able to push them a little harder and try to give them some competition at the national level.”
Said Greb, a former 5A state high school champion in Oregon: “We compete all the time in practice with those two. You could maybe call us the underdog, but in our minds we’re not. It’ll be fun. Hopefully we get there and maybe even see them in the championship (match). That would be pretty cool.”
Another set of college teammates — the University of Denver’s Mary Weinstein of Highlands Ranch and Annie Heck from Eagan, Minn. (together at left) — finished a stroke behind the two Rams, at 67. It’ll be the second time Weinstein has been first alternate in a Colorado qualifying tournament for this event, as she also was in that role in 2015 with Jaclyn Murray. The first alternates from Colorado last year — Hailey Schalk and Charlotte Hillary — ended up landing a spot in the national championship in May.
Sloot and Greb shot a best-ball score of even-par 35 on the front nine on Wednesday, but kicked it into gear with an eagle by Greb on the 455-yard, par-5 10th hole. There, she hit a 4-iron from the rough to 8 feet and sank the putt.
“I’ve probably never hit that good of a 4-iron in my life before,” said Greb, who will be going to her first USGA national championship. “That helped our momentum going into the back nine because we only shot even on the front. We needed to get after the back and that definitely helped us get going. It led to a strong finish.”
Indeed, the CSU teammates shot a 5-under-par 31 on the back nine despite both bogeying the last hole after each driving a ball into the left hazard.
“I always thought, ‘We’re not playing well right now, but it’s going to turn around. We’re going to get after it,'” Greb said. “Once we had something happen. it seems so much easier after that.”
In addition to the eagle, they made four best-ball birdies, with Sloot sinking putts of 55 feet on No. 14 and of 45 feet on No. 17. Both putts hit the back of the cup, popped up in the air and fell in, meaning both would have rolled well past had they not gone in.
“After nine I said to (Greb), ‘We’ve got to go low on this back nine.’ And we did just that,” said Sloot (left), who previously played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Secor in 2016. “Us teammates, we’ve learned to ham and egg it really well. We play together all the time at practice, so playing with a teammate in this event helps out for sure.”
U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Qualifying
At Par-71 Fox Hollow GC in Lakewood
ADVANCE TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Haley Greb, Pendleton, Utah/Jessica Sloot, Fruit Heights, Utah 35-31–66
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Mary Weinstein, Highlands Ranch/Anni Heck, Eagan, Minn. 32-35–67
Paris Hilinski, La Quinta, Calif./Allyn Stephens, Houston 34-34–68
For all the scores, CLICK HERE.