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Three Weeks in a Row!

by Lauren Ressler, Head Women's Golf Coach

Hello again!  Wow!  What a fast three weeks we have completed!  Three traveling weeks in a row tends to make players and coach a little zany but we have had a wonderful time nonetheless.  Traveling to awesome golf destinations and enjoying each other's company is what makes being a part of this team so special!!!

Our third tournament in as many weeks took us to Charleston, South Carolina.  Charleston Southern University hosted 11 teams at Coosaw Creek Country Club on Monday and Tuesday.  The golf course was in good shape and the greens rolled very well!  This tournament was a big step for Newberry College Women's Golf as 9 of the 11 teams participating in the event were from Division I schools. 

We traveled Sunday morning stopping at Panera Bread for a good lunch before we made the 2 hour trip to our practice round.  The host coach provided each team with information about the golf course as well as golf carts to make the course more manageable.  I heard from the Head Profession at Coosaw that all the distance from green to tee makes the golf course a 7 mile walk!  As our practice round progressed, the girls realized that the course demanded good judgment and a game plan.  Trees in middle of the fairway, strategically placed bunkers, sharp doglegs and small greens all made Coosaw challenging.  As the practice round came to a close, the girls finished up notations in their yardage books and were ready to eat (the question is, when are they not??).  CSU hosted a very nice buffet dinner in the clubhouse and we enjoyed a delicious meal of pasta, chicken, pork and salad. 

Round 1 brought sunny weather and the realization that we would be playing without Franziska Blum.  Sissi, as she is called by teammates and friends, hurt her wrist and had been going to numerous treatment sessions in the Newberry College training room.  Although she had been preparing to play all week as the tournament started, it was clear she would have to sit during round 1.  Her withdrawal from the round meant we would be playing with four players and that every score would count!  The pressure was intense for some of the newest members of the team as they wanted so badly to play well and help the team.  At the end of the day, we had a team score of 342 and a lot to work on for round 2.  We stood in 9th place, two strokes behind Anderson University and four strokes behind Armstrong Atlantic University (both fellow Division II institutions).  After a lengthy practice session based on the day's statistics, we returned to the Comfort Suites to shower and eat again!  This time we decided on Olive Garden...yummy!  After a good meal and a lot of laughs (no shortage on this team!), the girls felt better about the day and were ready to improve. 

After a restful night, round 2 was upon us.  The girls were much more focused because they had cleared up problems from round 1.  Knowing they would be playing without Sissi for another day meant course management and avoiding large numbers would be paramount.  Sarah Grigor was the first player off and started steady with several clutch up and downs from 70 yards and in (a major focus of our practice at the Lake Murray Par Three Center!).  She continued her smart thinking as her confidence continued to grow.  At the end of the day, she would record a 12 stroke improvement from round 1!  Amazing!!!  She had such a great breakthrough and I know she will continue to take this round with her into the future.  The second player in the lineup was Julia Sizemore.  She also started strong and steady with pars on several of the first holes.  If she had been able to avoid a few untimely shots into the water hazard on Hole 6, a 165 yard Par 3 (which was her 15th hole) the round would have been the lowest of her college career.  Kaitlin O'Sullivan played in the number 2 position and played well!  Always focused and ready to compete, she sometimes forgets to smile and breath when she does something well...like making a good save for par!!  She certainly had something to smile about after the round when she was able to finish par-par-par (all up and down pars!!!!) for a score of 81.  Holding down the first position was Maria Besio.  After a first round score of 76, she was off to a wonderful start with an even par on the front nine!  Her mental game was strong throughout both rounds and her chipping and putting, exceptional!  She finished with a 77 for the day which was good enough for 8th place! 

The team score of 329 was a wonderful success for the girls as they were able to move up to 6th place ahead of the other two Division II schools and Presbyterian College!!!  YAY!!!  Not only was the score important for improving our standings, the girls proved to themselves that they could compete in a tournament without Sissi.  Sissi will graduate in December and with the South Atlantic Conference Championship in April, we will need the girls to improve upon their successes this fall, stay mentally strong and play smart during our tournaments.

The girls have a much needed day of rest (although we will be playing tennis for a fun workout!).  We will start our practice plan for next week with a team meeting and practice on Friday afternoon!  Our final tournament of the fall season will be October 13th -14th at Country Club of Salisbury in Salisbury, North Carolina.  It is an amazing Donald Ross course and I love playing there every year!!!

I will be in touch soon!! 

Coach Ressler

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