Eagles golf places eighth at Westbrook Invitational

The concern going into the Westbrook Invitational in Peoria, Ariz., this weekend was if the Eastern Michigan University women’s golf team was going to be able to play.

The PGA Tour was in Arizona this weekend as well, and suspended play Friday because of snow. Yes, snow in Arizona. The pros resumed play Saturday and were able to finish all four rounds by Monday, so the Eagles had nothing to worry about after all.

“The snow was gone by the time we arrived,” EMU coach Sandy Wagner said.

Last weekend, the ladies had a rough outing because the weather was hurting all teams in that tournament. This weekend, the circumstances were similar: Cold temperatures and high winds played a significant role.

Even with poor weather, the ladies managed to improve from last weekend and even from round to round. Eastern finished the tournament tied in eighth place with Wisconsin, with a three-round score of 47.

Tournament scores:

• Senior Sarah Johnson once again weathered the storm and led her team in the tournament, finishing tied in 17th place with a three-round score of 8.

• Junior Corey Crossan had an awesome showing, which included nailing an eagle on a par 5. She finished tied in 26th place with a three-round score of 11.

• Junior and captain Alyssa Kwon finished tied for 36th with a three-round score of 14.

• Senior and captain Meredith Fairbairn finished in 47th place with a three-round score of 16.

Wagner was happy with the way her team performed.

“We will keep working hard and learning from our mistakes, there is no doubt that these girls want to do well and succeed,” she said. “I am proud to coach this group of kids.”

Johnson’s play stood out to Wagner throughout the course of the tournament and she had good things to say about the senior after the weekend was over.

“It was really great to see [Johnson] have another solid tournament,” Wagner said. “She can do anything with a golf ball, especially with her short game, so it really doesn’t matter where we play. She adapts her game well to each type of course we play.
That is what it takes to play solid golf wherever we go and whatever type of course we see.”

Wagner also said when Johnson does make a mistake on the course, she quickly adapts and is not likely to be very hard on herself.

“She has the right mindset and is much more forgiving of herself when she makes mistakes,” Wagner said.

Fairbairn was not looking forward to coming back to “cold, miserable Detroit,” however, she had a lot of great things to say about the tournament.

“We are happy with our performance,” Fairbairn said. “This is our strongest field in our schedule. We improved from round to round and all had solid showings. We are extremely happy with our last three holes as a team each round, showing that we maintained focus and grinded it out.

“I love being team captain. Sometimes it is hard when you have to hold your teammates accountable, or bring up not so nice issues, but it is a cool experience to be a leader and to be someone people can go to,” Fairbairn said.

Wagner and the girls are looking forward to spring break. The team plays in the Red Rocks Invitational in Sedona, Ariz., on March 2 and 3 before making the two-hour trip to Rio Verde for the Rio Verde Invitational March 8-10.

“We leave again Friday for the Sedona tournament and then some much-needed practice working on our chipping and putting, because we will be on our spring break in Arizona,” Wagner said. “We end our week in Rio Verde for one of our favorite tournaments.”

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