Coming off the confidence boost of a 12th place finish in a field of 18 nonconference teams at Ole Miss’ Rebel Intercollegiate April 3-5 in Oxford, Miss., the women’s golf team is preparing to host the Murray State Invitational at Miller Memorial Golf Course in Murray.
The three-round tournament starts today with two rounds after an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start and will continue with the final round starting at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. Tournament admission is free to the public.
“I was very pleased with how we played at Ole Miss,” said Head Coach Velvet Milkman. “We shot lower scores than we did the week before. And that’s our goal is to just get better every week out. And we did that. So it was nice to go down and put three good rounds together.”
A tournament title on their home course this weekend would make it the team’s third consecutive and seventh of the past eight years. Milkman’s goal, however, is just to improve on last week’s scores.
“We’re just sticking with the game plan of each week going out and getting better,” Milkman said. “I hope to be better come Sunday morning than we are now, and that just comes from going out and playing and handling yourself in different situations. So just continued improvement.”
The team will find itself in a familiar place this weekend, however, with the advantage of playing on a course they know well.
Milkman said the team has been working on its short game this week, but also focusing on controlling their emotions, staying calm and being positive. Although they know the course better than others, an increased crowd support could cause distractions for the team.
“Our fan base is big, but there will be a lot more people that will have the opportunity to watch us play this week.” Milkman said. “Handling that, I think, will be good as well. Staying focused on their game as opposed to who’s out watching.”
The Racers will host 10 teams at Miller this week. In addition to Murray State, Austin Peay, Belmont, Morehead State, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech will represent the OVC. Butler, Cincinnati, Marshall and Xavier will compete out of conference.
Freshman Moa Folke was named the OVC Co-Golfer of the Week after her 11th place finish at the Rebel Intercollegiate, joined by Jacksonville State’s Melania Bajo Geijo. Carding a total score of just two over par throughout the three rounds, Folke almost cracked the top ten in the field of 96. Milkman is pleased with not just Folke’s, but all of her players’ performances this week.
“Honestly, I think they’re all playing well,” Milkman said. “I know that sounds like a cop-out, but they really are. Our scores are getting better because we’re able to play consistently now, and I honestly expect us all to go out and play well because it’s our home golf course. We play it a lot, they’re comfortable on it, and they should all go out and play well.”
Story by Mallory Tucker, Sports Editor