Sophomore Elayna Bowser burst onto the scene last season as a rookie, finishing with a 79.8 stroke average in 29 rounds. This season, Bowser has continued that success without missing a beat.
Through six rounds in two tournaments, she is averaging 78.3 strokes, and she placed fifth at the Loyola Fall Invitational Sept. 19-20. Bowser helped her team finish at the top of the leaderboards for the first time this season.
But the numbers don’t fully capture what Bowser means to her fellow Ramblers. Loyola women’s golf head coach Carly Schneider said one of her favorite characteristics about Bowser is her ability to be a determined player and still have fun.
“She has one of the goofiest and fun personalities of the group,” said Schneider. “Together, we have a really great culture, and Elayna … definitely makes the team laugh.”
Schneider said she has big expectations for the Dearborn, Michigan, native. After just three weeks, Schneider sees Bowser consistently shooting under 80 and creeping down toward par.
“She can definitely [shoot par every time],” said Schneider, “I really want to see her do well in [the] Missouri Valley [Conference] Preview.”
Despite being Loyola’s low scorer through two tournaments, Bowser is still looking to improve her game. She said if she wants to do that, she has to improve on one of the hardest parts of golf.
“With putting, being more aggressive on the 10-foot and closer birdie putts is what I want to work on,” she said. “[I also want to work on] trying to limit myself to just bogies if I’m going to have a bad hole.”
Sophomore teammate Madeline Neumeier said Bowser consistently sets a good example for the rest of the team.
“She’s always ready to practice and go hard every single time we show up at the course,” said the Green Bay, Wisconsin, native. “There are days when people are tired or it’s raining, and Bowser always wants to get out there and play golf.”
One simple strategy to help golfers play better is to have fun while playing, according to Schneider. Neumeier said Bowser makes practice fun but remains determined to give her all.
“She keeps it light at practice and also reminds everyone why we’re here: Golf’s an awesome sport,” Neumeier said.
Schneider also said she has nicknamed Bowser “Tiger” because Bowser admires golf legend Tiger Woods and how the two play with similar playing styles. But Neumeier said there’s much more to the story than Woods being her favorite golfer.
“She has a Tiger Woods bobblehead, and that bobblehead shows up in random places,” Neumeier said. “Her obsession with Tiger Woods is a pretty recurring, funny story.”
Bowser’s goals for this season include winning a tournament and continuing to lower her scores. She said she’ll approach that goal by working on her short game and playing every putt like she’s aiming to secure a victory.
Bowser and the rest of the women’s golf team are in action again at the MVC Preview at Southern Illinois University on Oct. 3 and 4.