Setting The Scene

What: 2017 Bucknell Invitational
When: Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 9-10 (54 holes)
Where: Par-70 Bucknell Golf Club, Lewisburg, Pa.
The Field: 6 teams (Bucknell, Hampton, Holy Cross, La Salle, Niagara, Yale)

About the Bison

• Bucknell opens up its 2017-18 season this weekend with its annual home tournament. It will be a small five-team field this year, with 36 holes slated for Saturday and 18 Sunday. 

• Bucknell's lineup will feature one senior, one junior, one sophomore and a pair of freshmen. Lindsay Dodovich, a two-time All-Patriot League selection and the defending champion at the Bucknell Invitational, will play out of the No. 1 spot, followed by junior Katie Childers, freshman Erin Holmes, sophomore Meredith Langs, and freshman Casey Morrow. Junior Eunbbie Kim and sophomore Anna Dailey will play as individuals. 

• Dodovich returns after leading the Bison with a 78.7 scoring average in 2016-17. She finished ninth at the Patriot League Championship at Saucon Valley and three other top-15 finishes, including the win at the Bucknell Invitational. 

Bucknell at the Bucknell Invitational

The Bison have won this event four times: 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2016. Prior to Dodovich taking the title with rounds of 72-77 last fall, Katie Jurenovich is the last Bucknell individual champion, with her title coming in a playoff in 2010. Teri Schlang (2006), Jess Hetrich (2002) and Hilary Mainka (1999) have also claimed titles.     

 Last year, the Bison ran away from the four other teams in the field, posting team scores of 309 and 307 for a 616 composite. Runner-up Siena finished 32 strokes behind Bucknell at 648, followed by Niagara at 668, Shenandoah at 752 and La Salle at 771.  

Up Next

 Bucknell next heads to Dodovich's home area for the Loyola Chicago Fall Invitational at Flossmoor Country Club. 

Below is a closer look at the Bison women's golf team heading into the 2017-18 season:

Second-year Bucknell women’s golf coach Lisa Francisco is optimistic about her team’s chances for improvement in 2017-18, with “consistency” a key buzzword around the program as the Bison prepare to tee off the season at their annual home tournament this weekend.

“A goal for us this year is to have all five players in the 70s in every round,” said Francisco, who welcomes back five regular starters from last spring. “We just want to be consistent one through five, to be smart about our decision-making and not be negatively affected by one bad hole. That positive mindset is important. We want to be competitive on every shot, but at the same time remember that we are playing a game and that it’s supposed to be fun.”

Leading the way for the Bison this year will be the team’s lone senior and top returning scorer, Lindsay Dodovich. The Chicago native is a two-time All-Patriot League performer, having finished ninth in each of the last two Patriot League Championships. She led the squad with a 78.7 scoring average in 2016-17, a figure that included a 2-under-par 70 at the Sunoco Campbell Oil Classic that was one stroke shy of the school record. She also captured her first career tournament title at the Bucknell Invitational. Also a member of the Academic All-Patriot League Team, Dodovich had a productive summer interning for Kohler Golf at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

“Lindsay has a great mentality, she just doesn’t want to lose,” said Francisco. “We can count on her to post a good score just about every time. As a coach, I don’t have to worry about her, she just does her thing. She played a lot of golf at a great facility this summer, and I think she could have her best year yet.”

Junior Katie Childers is coming off a solid season. Her 81.5 average was third-best on the team behind Dodovich and departed senior Emily Larson. Childers turned in top-10 finishes at the Bucknell Invitational (7th) and the Low Country Intercollegiate (T-8th), and she had a strong showing at the Sunoco Campbell Oil Classic with three straight rounds in the 70s (79-77-78). She placed 24th at the Patriot League Championship, improving as the tournament progressed after a tough first round.

“Katie is hitting the ball well entering the season,” said Francisco. “As she has gained more experience at the collegiate level she has gotten more confidence. She is an upperclass leader now. She hits the ball a ton off the tee and is a good iron player.”

Eunbbie Kim is another junior who is looking to make a big leap entering the back half of her Bucknell career. She averaged 84.6 over eight events last year, with a low round of 77. Graysen Bright, the third member of the junior class, is studying abroad in England this fall and will rejoin the team in the spring.

“Eunbbie is sneaky long for her size,” said Francisco. “Her short game and her consistency are her strengths. She is always in the same mental state. You never know if she is having a good day or a bad day.”

Anna Dailey and Meredith Langs return after solid rookie seasons. Daily averaged 82.5 for the full season but had to miss the Patriot League Championship due to illness, while Langs posted an 83.8 average. Langs’ 4-over 76 at the Sunoco Campbell Oil Classic was one of the team’s best rounds of the year. She went on to place 25th at the Patriot League Championship.

“Meredith played a lot of golf and had a very good summer,” noted Francisco. “Her ball-striking is very good. She’s not as long as some of the others on the team, but she is usually right down the middle. She will be in the No. 4 spot entering the season, but she has a lot of potential that is not even close to being tapped yet.

“Anna has good length off the tee,” said Francisco. “Coming into the season she is hitting the ball well but is struggling to score. She has a textbook golf swing, she just needs to continue to gain confidence, which will come when she starts posting some good scores. She is definitely capable.”

New to the team this year are Erin Holmes of Cumberland, Maine, and Casey Morrow from the Pittsburgh area. Holmes was a 2016 all-state selection and four-time all-conference honoree at Greely High School. She also captured the New England Women’s Golf Association junior championship and the MSGA Junior Amateur earlier this year.

“Erin is a great young lady and a lot of fun to be around,” said Francisco. “She plays with a lot of confidence and will be No. 3 in our lineup to start the year. She played with Lindsay and Katie, two upperclassmen, in qualifying and really held her own. She is long and accurate off the tee. I can’t wait to see what she can do.”

Morrow played high school golf at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, which captured the 2016 Pennsylvania state championship. Morrow won the sectional title last year and placed in the top 15 at the WPIAL Class AAA Championship all four years. On the junior circuit, she captured the 2017 Canton Junior Classic with rounds of 75-76.

“Casey is a rock-star putter,” said Francisco. “She can make them from anywhere. She is not super-long just yet but is a student of the game and tends to make the most out of her rounds. Casey is in our top five and has a very bright future.”

The Bison have a chellenging fall schedule, with events hosted by Loyola Chicago, Penn State, Yale and Delaware following the season-opening Bucknell Invitational.