Women’s golf team looks to maintain its momentum


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Eleventh out of 11 is how the Iowa women’s golf team concluded its 2009-10 season at the Big Ten championships.

Since that tournament, improvement has been the focus for the 2010-11 team.

“We didn’t have a very good production at the Big Tens last year, and the girls were pretty disappointed about that,” head coach Kelly Crawford said. “A sort of goal for us is to carry the momentum from the fall through the spring and continue to get better.”

The Hawkeyes are coming off a strong fall season. The team took third at the Badger Invitational and set numerous team and individual marks. It was the first time Iowa had recorded three-consecutive sub-300 rounds, and its total score of 894 was the fourth-best in school history.

To continue the progression since last year’s letdown, the team has invested time working on its short game as well as its mental skills. Once a week, the golfers meet with a mental-skills coach.

Though they have had only two sessions with the new mental-skills coach, the golfers have used imagery and relaxation techniques to improve their focus in crucial situations.

“When you are out there by yourself for 12 hours just competing, it gets straining mentally,” said junior Chelsea Harris, the team’s leading scorer. “So it helps to have some tools and things to think about while you’re out there.”

With mental toughness, the Hawkeyes will have a much simpler time correcting another weakness — the short game. The team has struggled with putting and chipping in the past.

Though the Hawkeyes haven’t practiced on the grass in months, their short game isn’t a major concern for this weekend’s Edwin Watts/Kiawah Island Classic in Kiawah, S.C.

“They all practiced a lot over the break,” Crawford said. “We’re seeing a lot of good things inside the Bubble with our short game, so I have high expectations.”

The team’s two freshmen, Woojay Choi and Karly Grouwinkel, in particular, have progressed immensely. From last semester to this semester, Crawford has seen what they are capable of, and she expects them to contribute to the team quickly.

“I have high expectations for both,” Crawford said. “And it’s important for us to continue bringing in good players and then developing those players.”

Maintaining the momentum of the fall is important for the success of this team, and Harris knows exactly what she needs to do to contribute.

“Putting extra time in outside of practice and on the weekends will help,” she said. “I need to concentrate on my weaknesses and just build on that.”

If the Hawkeyes can continue to improve at the same rate they have since fall, the high expectations can be achieved.

“I think we can definitely do top five at conference,” Harris said. “It’s hard when Purdue is a national champion and Michigan State, Ohio State, and Northwestern are always big teams, but I think we can do top five with some hard work.”

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