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Hawkeyes hope to use momentum in final tournament of the fall season

BY COURTNEY BAUMANN | OCTOBER 31, 2014 5:00 AM

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Since the first tournament of the season, the Iowa women’s golf team has continued to drastically cut its team score. Iowa finished 87-over at the Mary Fossum Invitational Sept. 14; most recently, it ended 39-over on Oct. 22.

“I think we definitely feel like it is a positive step in the right direction. We’ve continued to see some really good numbers out of people, whether it’s one day or two days,” head coach Megan Menzel said. “We’re just really trying to build on that. We’re seeing a little bit more consistency throughout the lineup, and we have more people who can help us out, and we’re very excited about that.”

The lower scores can be contributed to continuing work on short game. One goal the Hawkeyes had was to get their up-and-down percentage above 50 percent, which they have accomplished, Menzel said.

Freshman Elisa Suarez has been helpful in reducing the number of strokes. She recently finished 1-over to finish fourth at the Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational. Like Menzel, Suarez attributes her success, as well as the team’s, to chipping and putting.

“We’ve been working a lot on our short game, and I think that’s what can make a really big difference in the numbers,” she said. “We’ve been doing pretty well in that area.”

The Hawkeyes will close their fall season with a trip down to Boerne, Texas to compete in the Jim West Invitational. Shelby Phillips, Amy Ihm, Jessie Sindlinger, Jessica Ip, and Suarez will compete.

This trip will mark the end of the last fall season for Phillips. Rather than feeling nostalgic, she is enthusiastic to see what her team can do.

“I’m excited,” the senior said. “It’s one of the first times I’ve felt like I can look at all my teammates and know that we can all compete at a high level. Every week is getting better, and it is really exciting to think that we could get to regionals, maybe even nationals. It’s really exciting as a senior.”

While Phillips has three years of college experience behind her, two freshmen ­— Suarez and Ip — have contributed to the better scores for Iowa.

While Suarez noted short game as her main concern, Ip has worked on keeping her mental game in check.

“I’ve just really been trying to stay focused and not think so much. I’ve kind of focused more on my own game to keep within myself and block out anything going on around me,” she said.

The result of the upcoming tournament will be important for how the Hawkeyes view the upcoming winter months. 

“I think we really have to use this tournament as a good memory to keep during these tough winter months in between for preparation for the spring season,” Suarez said. “If we are able to make this last tournament a good one, then it’s going to be very helpful for us to keep concentrated on working on what we have to improve. “

Menzel is also looking forward to a positive outcome for her Hawkeyes.

“I think we’re really trying to make just that one more step forward,” Menzel said. “We’re trying to end on a positive note to feel really good about going into the off-season and training hard and getting ready for the spring.”


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