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Women’s golf struggles after 12th place finish in Florida

BY PETER GUSTIN | MARCH 12, 2009 7:27 AM

The weather was sunny, around 80 degrees. The course was very forgiving with wide fairways and flat greens. However, it wasn’t Iowa’s time to excel.

Before entering the Eagle Landing Invitational, hosted by James Madison, early this week, the Iowa women’s golf team sought a top-five finish on a favorable course.

Prior to the tournament in Orange Park, Fla., the set goal was for the team to shoot in the 70s individually and at 300 for a team.

However, Iowa sat in 11th place (of 15 teams) going into Tuesday after a first-round team score of 318.

In the end, the Hawkeyes finished in 12th, 65 strokes behind Tennessee-Chattanooga, which won the tournament.

“I’m disappointed that we finished 12th in a tournament that we legitimately should have finished in the top three,” Iowa head coach Kelly Crawford said. “I felt that Eagle Landing was a very scorable golf course, and I believed we could keep our team totals below 300.”

The Hawkeyes never quite reached that feat, although they improved in rounds two (307) and three (306).

Iowa had its moments, but trouble with the greens left them struggling to reach par.

“Our team putting average was nearly 34 putts per round,” Crawford said. “The greens were pretty flat, and we should have done a much better job there.”

The greens were rolling fast, something Iowa hasn’t been used to, senior Tyrette Metzendorf said, leaving Iowa struggling for feel in the short game.

Coming off the fall season, Iowa had placed in the top 10 in four of five tournaments. While 12th place left the Hawkeyes dissatisfied, there were some high notes.

Senior Becky Quinby shot consistently over the three-round tournament, carding two rounds of 76 (4-over) Monday, and 77 (5-over) on Tuesday.

“Becky did play consistently, and that is exactly what we need out of her,” Crawford said. “A couple of miscues in the last round cost her a few shots; otherwise she played very solid.”

A positive that will be taken is that four golfers shot in the 70s in rounds two and three, including a breakout performance by freshman Chelsea Harris.

“Chelsea had a career-best tournament, and I am really happy for her,” Crawford said. “I expect we’ll see more of that from her.”

Harris finished tied for 61st, shooting rounds of 82 (10-over), 79 (7-over), and 76 (4-over) on the par-72 course (237 overall).

Junior Alison Cavanaugh tied for 68th and rounded out Iowa's scorecard with rounds of 83, 81, and 80 for a total of 244.

Metzendorf helped pace Iowa, tying for 27th individually, although she carded a 79 (7-over) on the first 18 holes.

“It was nice to see Tyrette bounce back from her first-round score,” assistant coach Adam Kaufman said after the first day, expecting Metzendorf to take control on Tuesday’s third round.

Metzendorf finished with a team-low 228, shooting a 74 (2-over) and 75 (3-over) in the final two rounds.

“We were all disappointed by our performance the past few days,” Metzendorf said. “We are working hard the next few days to prepare for our tournament in Texas and improve on this past tournament.”

Iowa will travel to Waco, Texas for the Baylor Spring Invitational on March 16-17, the second of four tournaments the Hawkeyes will compete in before traveling in April to West Lafayette, Ind., for the Big Ten championships.


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