Elodie Van Dievoet leads Michigan into NCAA women’s golf regionals
(Note: This story originally appeared on Maize n Brew, the popular University of Michigan sports site).
By Will Martin
Elodie Van Dievoet grew up around golf. Like, really good golf. But the record-setting Michigan sophomore nearly chose another path.
“My mother, she played in Europe and the LPGA,” said Van Dievoet, who came to the Wolverines from Brussels, Belgium. “But my mom didn’t really want me to play because she knows how tough of a sport it is. … I played field hockey until I was 15, but eventually I had to choose.”
Van Dievoet chose golf, and with that decision helped push the Michigan women’s program to another level.
This year, she set the school’s single-season scoring average record (73.04) and won the Big 10 tournament championship with a six-under par performance, the first Michigan woman to win the title. In addition, she was named All-Big 10 first team, the second straight year a Wolverine has received the honor (Grace Choi in 2016).
“I was super happy; I really didn’t expect it at all,” said Van Dievoet of her all-conference accolades. “I had improved so much compared to last year that I wasn’t thinking about it, I was just trying to improve my game. It kind of paid off for all my hard work.”
Though Van Dievoet was also named the team’s Most Improved Player for 2017, women’s golf coach Jan Dowling saw the Belgian golfer’s potential almost immediately on their first meeting in 2014.
“Usually, you know, you watch a player for a couple holes before you decide if it’s someone you legitimately want to recruit,” Dowling said in an interview with the university’s MGoBlue TV. “It took one shot with her.”
Dowling, now in her fourth season as Michigan’s head coach, connected with Van Dievoet during a recruiting tour in Europe, where Elodie had made her mark in the World Junior Golf, British Open Amateur and Belgian National championships. Michigan proved an easy sell for the prized recruit.
“I was looking for a good academic school,” said Van Dievoet. “Coach (Dowling) reached out to me and I had an unofficial visit. … It was amazing. It’s pretty crazy the resources and all the staff I had around me.”
Described by Dowling as a tall, athletic golfer, Van Dievoet’s game is marked by a powerful right-handed swing: “I hit the ball pretty long. My driving is the strong part of my game,” she said.
Monday, she will lead a five-member Michigan squad into NCAA regional play in Columbus, Ohio, the second straight postseason appearance for the team. Ohio State’s Scarlet Course, a 72-par site, will host 18 teams for three days and 54 holes of golf. The top six teams and three top individual golfers from non-qualifying teams will move on to the NCAA finals in Illinois the following week.
Michigan landed a No. 9 seed for the regionals, right behind conference rivals Ohio State and Purdue. Michigan has advanced only twice to the NCAA finals, in 2002 and last season, where they finished tied for 18th place in the nation. Van Dievoet is confident Michigan can make the trip to the NCAA finals, again.
“The weather has actually been pretty bad, but I think we still have had some really good practices. … I tried to work a lot on hitting balls and keeping my putting structured,” said Van Dievoet. “We just have to take shot by shot and day by day. I definitely know we can do it.”