Before entering her fifth and final season as a Duke, redshirt senior Kate Owens had high aspirations for herself and for JMU women’s golf this season.
“I kind of want to leave everything on the line,” Owens said. “Honestly, I just want to graduate without wondering what could have been.”
And Owens did just that — “there’s not a day that she doesn’t put in her all at practice,” junior Haley Quickel said.
“She’s a very instrumental part of the team,” Quickel said. “She’s been an incredible player for all of the years that she’s been here.”
Owens now holds the record for the most career rounds played in program history and third-lowest career scoring average. Owens has played 135 rounds across her five years as a Duke, averaging a score of 75.01 (+3.16 to par) across her career.
In her final season, the redshirt senior racked up three straight top-10 finishes. Owens finished T-10 at the River Landing Classic, the Dukes’ first tournament of individual play this spring. Thirteen days later, Owens placed T-3 at the Golfweek Intercollegiate to help push JMU to its second first-place finish of the spring. Before heading into postseason play, she placed T-9 at the ECU Ironwood Invitational in the Dukes’ third win of four tournaments this season.
Owen’s impact on the Dukes stretches far beyond her performances out on the green, though. The veteran leader has played a pivotal role in creating the team’s close-knit bond.
“She’s always taking care of the team,” junior Amelia Williams said. “Scheduling team dinners and just making sure everyone’s having fun on the course and everything.”
The redshirt senior’s extra efforts off the course have helped define what leadership looks like for this program and for those who will follow in her footsteps.
“I aspire to show some of the qualities she does when I’m a senior,” Williams said. “She’s someone I really looked up to on the team since my freshman year and she has always set a great example.”
While Owen’s may be closing her chapter of golf at JMU, the soon-to-be alumna still remains eager to continue competing.
She plans to keep playing golf on the amateur level, Owens said, “but it’ll never be the same as the time I put in now, so, it’s probably the end of an era, but what a way to end.”