Women's golf prepares for opening act in Big Ten

BY TORK MASON | OCTOBER 10, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women's golf team will start the home stretch of its fall schedule today at the Lady Northern Intercollegiate tournament in French Lick, Ind.

The tournament will host seven other Big Ten teams and Iowa State.

Head coach Megan Menzel said she feels the tournament will provide a good test for the team and hopes the Hawkeyes will continue to build on the success they've had this season.

"I feel very good about where we are — I think we definitely haven't played our best golf yet," she said. "We've had some good rounds and individual performances at times, but I don't feel like we've put it together as a team. I'm hoping we get stronger in that area, starting this week."

Menzel said the team needs to focus on its short game in order to make those improvements occur. She said it's an area that will make a team more consistent, even when the players are not hitting the ball well.

Junior Gigi DiGrazia and freshman Shelby Phillips have demonstrated the idea. Phillips ranks seventh nationally in average putts per round; DiGrazia is ranked 23rd in putting average, 26th in up-and-downs, and 36th in total short game.

The Hawkeyes have third- and 12th-place finishes to their name at the midway point of the season, and DiGrazia said she and her teammates feel they have something to prove to their conference foes this week.

"We definitely want to compete in the Big Ten, and this is the preview for what we'll see in the spring," DiGrazia said. "So we definitely want to go out and show the rest of the Big Ten what Iowa is all about. It's a new team and a new year."

Junior Kristi Cardwell said she felt it's been an "awesome" season so far, although it could have been better. Senior Chelsea Harris agreed, noting that he team left several strokes on the course at the Dick McGuire Invitational last month in Albuquerque, N.M.

Harris said she wants the team to commit to every shot this week and that Hawkeyes should finish well if they play to their potential.

DiGrazia said she expects that to happen soon.

"I know our best golf is yet to come, which is exciting because we've put up some good numbers," she said. "We shot a round under 300 — but that's not even our best yet."

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