No. 1 spot adds pressure for Iowa golfers


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For any given tournament, each collegiate golf team plays five golfers, giving them a rank of one through five. Logically, the No. 1 spot is typically reserved for the best golfer.

The Iowa women’s golf team uses that strategy a majority of the time, but head coach Megan Menzel likes to switch it up on occasion, too. 

 “A lot of time we’ll just go off how they placed in the last tournament and then they’ll play in that spot,” she said. “A couple times this year we’ve moved them around a little bit just to kind of see if it helps or to take a little pressure off maybe that day. It kind of varies.”

However, this is not the case for most teams. The No. 1 golfer tends to be the one that is performing the best on the team. Since No. 1s golf with other No. 1s, number twos golf with number twos, and so on, the best play with the best — meaning things can get very competitive in the top spot.

For junior Amy Ihm, playing with the top golfers can add some extra stress.

“There is a little more pressure being with the other No. 1s,” she said. “You try to keep grinding and pushing and pushing when you should just stick to pars sometimes when you get in trouble.”

Jessie Sindlinger also said playing in the top spot can be more competitive in nature and add pressure when playing with the golfers from other teams.

“There is a little bit more pressure with the other teams because they’re the No. 1s as well,” the sophomore said. “You’re playing with them so you’re going to want to play better than them too. You try not to focus on that really, but you know that they’re going to be pretty good.”

While the amount of pressure felt changes depending on the spot, the preparation doesn’t.

All three Hawkeye golfers that have played No. 1 this season — Ihm, Sindlinger, and Shelby Phillips — agreed they try to prepare the same ways for playing there as they would playing anywhere else.

“I don’t [prepare differently]. I really try not to think about the spots,” Phillips said. “When you’re in the No. 1 spot it means that you’ve been doing well in the past, but when I enter a tournament I don’t really think about any of that. I just think about competing and playing no matter what spot I’m in.”

Thus far in the 2014 fall season, the No. 1 golfer in each tournament for Iowa has not performed very well in comparison to previous results — Sindlinger being the exception.

When in the No. 1 spot, Ihm finished 72 out of 74 golfers and Phillips shot plus-16 the first round of the tournament.

Menzel said has not realized this trend, but she understands why it is true.

“I think that sometimes maybe you go out there and put a little bit more pressure and higher expectations on yourself,” Menzel said. “You just have to remind yourself to just play golf.”


Follow @cbomb12 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s golf team.

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