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Women’s golf pitching for consistency

BY PETER GUSTIN | MARCH 5, 2009 7:19 AM

Coming off a fall season marked by inconsistency, the Iowa women’s golf team is getting ready to tee it up in warm weather.

The Hawkeyes started the season by defeating Stetson in a dual on Feb. 14, carding a 312 as a team and winning by five strokes.

However, the team isn’t pleased with its overall performances.

“We were not the happiest with our scores,” junior Alison Cavanaugh said. “We’ve been working really hard on improving our mechanics, especially in the short game and with feel in general.”

Over the past three months, the team has been predominantly practicing in the Bubble to improve its mechanics.

Lately, Iowa’s on-the-course emphasis has been the pitching skill.

“We are working on getting more consistent with our wedge game in an attempt to hit more greens and give ourselves better chances at making more birdies and pars,” Iowa head coach Kelly Crawford said.

While Crawford has seen the team working out the kinks since competing in November, the same expectations are held— to play consistently and play to potential.

“When we do that, we will find ourselves at the top of the standings on a regular basis,” Crawford said. “We need to be getting into the 70s consistently and around 300 as a team.”

To help the Hawkeyes achieve these goals, focus has been placed on the mental game. Every Wednesday before practice, a sports psychologist speaks to the team.

“We write down goals and learn how to implement them in practice as well as out on the grass,” senior Tyrette Metzendorf said. “It’s really helped focus us on letting a bad shot go and moving past it to perform stronger.”

Cavanaugh and Metzendorf said there has been improvement in the team’s mental game and in mechanics from practice and because many of the golfers have had the chance to play in warm weather locations during winter break and early this semester.

“We’re not just ready to compete,” Cavanaugh said. “We are eager to get out there and bring home more hardware.”

The Hawkeyes will fly out to Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday morning to compete in the 15-team Eagle Landing Invitational in Orange Park, Fla., hosted by James Madison.

Iowa will play 36 holes on March 9 and 18 on March 10 in a playing field filled with intense competition, including Illinois and Penn State from the Big Ten.

“Most of the teams we will be competing against are from warmer climates and have also already competed this season,” Crawford said. “However, it was good for us to get on some grass last month [against Stetson].”

Iowa will send five golfers to the weekend tournament — Metzendorf, Cavanaugh, senior Becky Quinby, sophomore Brianna Coopman, and freshman Chelsea Harris.

“There will be great weather and competition, and we’re playing on grass, so there are no excuses,” Crawford said about the weekend’s invitational.

After this weekend’s tournament, the Hawkeyes will compete in three tournaments before the Big Ten Championships — March 16-17 at the Baylor Spring Invitational, April 6-7 at the Indiana Invitational, and April 18-19 at the Lady Buckeye Invitational.


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