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Women’s golf ready for Finkbine

BY COURTNEY BAUMANN | OCTOBER 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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Home course has always had its advantages, and the Iowa women’s golf team hopes this will continue to be true when the second Diane Thomason Invitational kicks off at Finkbine Golf Course on Saturday.

Receiving its name from the former head coach of the Hawkeyes, the tournament honors all that Thomason did for the women’s golf program. In her 27-year tenure at Iowa, Thomason — four-time coach of the year from three different entities — coached seven All-Big Ten selections and led the Hawkeyes to their first ever Big Ten title in 1991.

As for Iowa’s current head coach, she is enthusiastic about the opportunity to play at home.

“I absolutely believe in home course advantage,” Megan Menzel said. “I think it’s really exciting to play at home. Hopefully, by now, we know the ins and outs of Finkbine very well and have a good plan and a good strategy to go out and play the golf course well.”

On the roster for the Hawkeyes will be Shelby Phillips, Amy Ihm, Jessie Sindlinger, Jessica Ip, and Elisa Suarez.

“We know everywhere on the course so it’s really nice to be able to play at home. We play it every day, so we’ll know what we’re coming up to, where we should hit it, and what we should do,” Sindlinger, a sophomore, said. “The teams coming here may have played it last year but that’s about it, but we play it every day. It should be good for us, exciting.”

At practice, the team continues to work hard on important aspects of its game, particularly chipping and putting.

Numerous Hawkeyes, including Sindlinger, Ip, and Suarez, have mentioned short game as something they need to gain confidence in and improve on.

“We’ve been working around the greens a lot and just stressing the importance of getting up and down when we miss a green,” Ihm said.

Good decision-making, better plays, and creativity around the green are what Menzel has stressed to her players. “I think they’re ready. We’re starting to see some better scores. I think it will be really good,” the fourth-year coach said.

Having a home tournament will also provide short relief from traveling for the Hawks.  Only half of the team’s 10 other tournaments are within 1,000 miles of Iowa City.

“If you’re not caught up in school then you’re worried about school,” Sindlinger said. “It’s nice to have a home meet so we don’t have to travel all over.”

Making the trip to Iowa City to compete against the Hawkeyes will be Boston University, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana State, North Dakota State, Northern Illinois, Oakland, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Wichita State, and Winthrop.

Last year, the Hawkeyes finished sixth at their home tournament, carding one of their better places of the season. Menzel is positive about the weekend and hopes to see continued success.

“We’re definitely playing for the win,” she said. “We want to go out there and put together three solid rounds of golf.”


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