The end of an era is approaching for five seniors of Taylor women’s golf.
Currently ranked fifth in the NAIA National Team Rankings, women’s golf is indebted to all five of these senior standouts. With the regular season coming to a close the Crossroads League Championship May 3–4, the Trojan squad has recorded five team victories in 10 tournament contests.
Senior Rachel Coers played in all seven events in the 2019-2020 shortened season, earning an 84.50 scoring average and career-low round of 77 at the Purgatory Intercollegiate September 11-12. Coers was also named Academic All-Crossroads League and WGCA All-America scholar this past season. Her current scoring average of 83.05 in 20 tournament rounds this season is on pace to be her career-best.
After transferring a semester into her freshman year at University of Indianapolis, Coers reflected on how her life was impacted outside of golf. She made the realization that everything has an eternal weight to it, and has grown through golf.
“I think one of the coolest parts about when I look back at my time at Taylor was getting here,” Coers said. “(Coach Cameron Andry) is the reason I’m at Taylor because he kind of gave me a chance.”
Out of the many priceless memories Coers has made, her proudest moment came back in fall 2018 when the team won the Whistling Straits Intercollegiate in brutal conditions. That being her junior year, it was the beginning of her top-five play on the team, and she said it was really rewarding to feel like she was making an impact.
Next up, senior Taylor French is a three-time WGCA All-American Scholar and boasts a career-low round of 70 (two under par) at the Purgatory Intercollegiate in the 2018-2019 season. French has one individual win under her belt at the Pilot Spring Invitational in 2019, with scores of 77 and 79, and has a 78.39 scoring average so far this year.
Senior Nicole Jung has 13 career individual titles to her credit and a program-record 75.11 scoring average she set in the 2019-2020 season. Jung was named WGCA First-Team All-American this past season and possesses the Taylor women’s golf lowest 54-hole score of 214 (70, 71, 73), set at the Bill Bockwitz Fall Classic. Her current scoring average this season is 75.76 with two regular-season events remaining.
The standout Jung will be returning for a fifth year in 2021-2022 but was extremely appreciative of her fellow seniors. Of all the lessons Jung learned over her four years at Taylor, not allowing her score to define her as a person has stuck with her to this day.
“We have a bigger goal than a tournament that is tomorrow,” Jung said. “It’s not all about golf. I feel like that’s why we have such a good relationship because we’re all about serving and caring. We’re good as a team, but it’s more as a unit.”
Coming back for a fifth year, senior Annie Stimmel is, like French, a three-time WGCA All-American Scholar. On two occasions Stimmel shot a career-low round of 71 and had a career-best runner-up finish at the Whistling Straits Intercollegiate (80, 77) in the 2018-2019 season. She holds an 80.72 scoring average this season.
Senior Maddie Thomas also returned for a fifth year and finished fifth in the NAIA National Head-to-Head Individual Rankings in the 2019-2020 season. Thomas has six individual victories at Taylor and became the first in program history to win in four (now five) different seasons. Her 75.22 scoring average last season is second behind Jung in Taylor history as Thomas currently maintains a 77.08 average in 2020-2021.
“They built the whole thing as a young program,” Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Kyle Gould said. “It’s a national power thanks to the work. They just started playing well in the big tournaments, and that is how you get recognition and that’s how you earn respect.”
The NAIA Women’s Golf Championship will take place in late May in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Gould only hopes they stay healthy and play their best when the time comes.
With the journey’s end in sight, Jung answered the burning question of what a national championship would mean to her and the Taylor women.
“I think it’ll be a huge highlight of my golf career, to be able to say I have won nationals,” Jung said. “Especially with this group of girls, four of us have been together since my first tournament … the whole team is pretty confident we can do it.”