The Murray State women’s golf team shot a score of 921 and returned home Tuesday Oct. 22, with a shared 8th place at the Blue Raider Invitational.
The team traveled to Murfreesboro Tenn. on Monday and Tuesday for the last tournament of its fall season. The Racers faced a field of 93 players and 18 teams at the invitational and the tournament consisted of 3 rounds of 18 greens, for a total of 54 holes.
Head Coach Velvet Milkman applauded her players for their leadership and determination throughout the match.
“I think we played better than what our scores showed,” Milkman said. “An eighth place finish was not what we were hoping for. I thought the effort was good, we played well and showed strong leadership.”
Senior Alexandra Lennartson led the racers throughout the tournament and placed 11th with scores of 74-77-74= 225, while senior Alli Weaver placed 35th in the field of 93 with scores of 77-76-77=230. Teammates junior Delaney Howson and freshman Abbi Stamper shared 51st place with scores of 78-76-80=234 and 78-78-78=234 respectively. Freshman Sophie Hillier placed 69th with rounds of 76-83-80.
Host Middle Tennessee won the event with a team score of 889, with Morehead State (905) and University of Arkansas Little Rock (906) not far behind.
“The field is about the strongest we play as far as depth top-to-bottom and when you play in a golf tournament you don’t have to be better than just one team, you have to be better than seventeen,” Milkman said. “You cannot make some mental mistakes or have some loose swings or miss a few puts, and that was our challenge. The difference between 8th and 3rd wasn’t as big as it looked on paper.”
According to Weaver, the team’s resilience and ability to bounce back from a bad shot stemmed from their preparation on the green.
“Velvet has us doing a lot of drills – a lot of chipping drills and putting drills,” senior Alli Weaver said. “When we get to the tournaments like this it’s really helpful because even if you miss the green or get in a tough spot, it gives you a one up on the field. The days we spent around the green and just chipping and putting really helps us when it comes to tournament time.”
The team’s biggest challenge is patience. Not only does the sport of golf require great physical endurance, it also is a very mentally taxing sport. The mental game is equally as important as the physical aspect.
“Patience, golf is not a game that’s perfect,” Milkman said. “You’re not going to get every shot absolutely perfect especially when it’s windy and you have to be able to be patient. When those shots are perfect you minimize your damages and move on. We still have to get much better at that.”
Milkman approaches the spring and off-season with a business as usual attitude. The preparation for their championship season begins after the players take this upcoming week off.
“The off-season has a lot more work in the weight room, it’s about getting stronger for those 36 whole days,” Milkman said. “As long as the weather is nice, they will continue to go out and practice and play. I told them winning championships takes patience, they take time off to regroup and that is what we are going to do.”
Both Milkman and Weaver are looking forward to the spring season. Improvement and patience are the main focus for the off-season.
“I think overall it went really well for our team,” Weaver said. “Our freshmen really stepped it up. It was difficult with the wind over the past few days, but overall I think we hit the ball really well. I think putting improved and it was good a hole for a final tournament of the season.”
The Racers played five events during their fall season and placed in the top 5 three times. They will tee off their spring season with a home tournament March 4-5 at the Racer Classic at Miller Memorial Golf Course.
Story by Laura Kovarik, Staff writer