Kansas University's women's golf team, led by emotional Donna Jo Lowen, huddled under a tree and had a good cry Tuesday afternoon at Alvamar.
"Hey, you're supposed to be happy," shouted an Oklahoma State golfer, following the Cowpokes' two-stroke loss to Kansas at the Big Eight championships.
The Jayhawks winning the first Big Eight title in school history totaled 936 strokes (after 54 holes) to OSU's 938. It marked the first time in seven years the Cowboys failed to win the Big Eight crown.
"It's a great feeling," said Lowen, second-place overall finisher, who, along with teammates and coaches, leaped in the No. 18 pond to celebrate KU's historic victory.
"IT'S MY last tournament as a Jayhawk. To win it is just great," noted the Hays senior. "When we were waiting for the final scores, I told my team, `Whatever happens, happens. I'm proud of all of you.'''
Lowen, who parred the final two holes, finished one stroke back of individual winner Marnie McGuire of OSU, who finished with two birdies.
"I'm happy with my finish," said Lowen. "I had a bad round yesterday 44 on the back nine. Today I said `Go out and forget that. It's my senior year. Have fun.'''
KU had three golfers place in the top 10. Shelly Triplett tied for fifth at 235, while Laura Myers tied for eighth at 237. Sherri Atchison was right behind at 238, and Laura Martin had 241.
But it was the team crown that really mattered.
"I don't know what to say," said second-year coach Brad Demo. "These girls worked hard all year. It's a dream come true to win it at home.
"To get first place, I had no idea it'd happen. These kids have huge hearts. That's what won it for us."
PLAYING AT Alvamar helped, Demo said.
"It's a great course. The greens are big and we're used to them. And it did come down to putting. Thank goodness we were a little sharper."
Okie State coach Ann Pitts praised the Jayhawks' effort.
"It was close all day," said Pitts. "We were down by four after 36 holes and four again at 45 holes. I would like to give a lot of credit to the Kansas Jayhawks. They were well prepared and played well."
Triplett, a sophomore from Pullman, Wash., entered the final nine holes tied for the individual lead.
She played in the same group as eventual third-place finisher Carolyn McKenzie.
Triplett missed a hole in one by two feet on No. 12 and looked like she'd be eventual Big Eight individual medalist.
DISASTER, however, hit on Nos. 16, 17 and 18. She had a triple bogey seven on 16, double-bogey seven on 17 and bogey five on 18.
"The back nine is tough for me because I'm not a long-ball hitter," said Triplett. "Obviously I was upset at myself because I figured I blew my chance of winning the tournament. You always play to win.
"I wanted to finish as strong as possible because the team needed me. Yet she shot well enough (80 on final 18) to help KU win.
"I can't believe we did it. I'm really excited," Triplett said. "We worked hard for it. It's nice to see hard work pay off. We never talked about winning because you never know how the other teams will do. We wanted to play the best we could. It's especially nice to win it on our home course. I've never had a tournament at my home course before."