Women's golf aims to 'come together'

BY TORK MASON | OCTOBER 31, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women's golf team will try to finish its fall schedule on a good note, starting today at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational.

The Hawkeyes will tee off at the University of Texas Golf Club in Austin this morning against 14 other schools, including Big Ten rival Wisconsin and head coach Megan Menzel's alma mater, New Mexico.

The team is searching for consistency and better play around the green as it heads into the winter break. The spring season will begin on Feb. 21.

"Absolutely, [putting] is one area that we feel is glaring at us a little bit," Menzel said. "We know we're handing some shots away each time out, so we're just trying to get better."

The course on which the Hawkeyes will compete is likely to place strong emphasis on short-game performance, so the team will need to make those adjustments quickly.

Senior Chelsea Harris said she's hoping the team can put together a stronger tournament from top to bottom than it has all season.

"If we all play even just a decent round, we can score very well against some of the teams [at the tournament] because only one or two of us have posted a good score in each round [previously]," she said. "I would just like for all of us to come together — to prove to ourselves that we can do it and gain some confidence going into the spring."

In order to make that happen, Harris said, she wants the team to take things one shot at a time and come into each day with a goal.

"Sometimes it helps to be like, 'OK, we want to shoot 300 as a team,' which means everybody needs to shoot 75 or better," she said. "That does put a little extra pressure on us, but I think it's good pressure. It shows you where you need to be."

The Hawkeyes say they're confident going into the tournament.

"I have a feeling we're going to do really well, because we've been practicing really hard the past few weeks for this tournament," junior Kristi Cardwell said.

Menzel said she's been pleased with the team's general attitude throughout the fall season and especially over the past few weeks.

"This time of year can be tough; they've played all spring, all summer, [and] all fall, and you can certainly see the end in sight," Menzel said. "We've had our ups and downs, but I think overall they've really remained positive.

"I think they're excited to see what they can do against a strong field."

Menzel said the team's main focus following the tournament will be on conditioning but noted that players have the freedom to work individually to make any necessary tweaks in their games throughout the winter.

The tournament will be played through Wednesday afternoon. Live scoring will available at GolfStat.com.

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