The Eastern Michigan University women’s golf team opened up its spring season at the Jim West Challenge held at Vaaler Creek Golf Club in a windy Blanco, Texas Sunday.
Much like the PGA Tour 2013 season opening tournament, The Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, the teams faced heavy wind gusts; at times up to 30 plus miles per hour.
“The conditions were very tough for our first test of golf,” EMU women’s coach Sandy Wagner said. “The winds were blowing 20-30 miles per hour, the temps were in the mid 40s and low 50s and the course was tricky.”
Luckily, this first tournament was used as a way for the ladies to see where they are before the season gets underway.
“Our first tournament is used to measure where each player is mentally and physically with each parts of their games,” Wagner said.
Because of the winter season here in Michigan, the team is restricted to indoor practice facilities. The team is not able to hit off real grass, only artificial grass and this can change a lot
about the way the ball flies.
“It is the kids first chance to hit off grass, watch the ball react on the greens when they chip or pitch it, and work on their curving putts,” Wagner said. “We use the first tournament as a benchmark of what to work on for the next tourney and there isn’t a lot of pressure for them to score … just taking a lot of personal notes on what to take back to Michigan and work on until our next tournament. They learned from it, though and they are a very hard working group of young ladies who will keep fighting because they know what the ultimate goals are.”
Junior and team captain Alyssa Kwon echoed her coach’s sentiments after the tournament.
“The first tournament is always exciting. Everyone is excited to be hitting off grass and in warmer weather,” Kwon said.
Senior captain Meredith Fairbairn agreed as well.
“All of us were glad to be back out there again, but we were disappointed in our performance,” Fairbairn said. “This set a benchmark for where we have to focus our attention to be better for the rest of the season. The conditions couldn’t have been tougher, so it was a good time to get all the rust off and expose areas that need work.”
Eagles tournament scores:
• Senior Sarah Johnson led the team with round scores of 81,
75 and 77. She finished tied in 7th place with a final score of 17.
• Kwon finished in 17th place with round scores of 78, 76 and 84. Her final score was 22.
• Junior Corey Crosson finished in 38th place with round scores of 83, 78 and 88. Her final score was 33.
• Redshirt sophomore Lois Schoof finished tied in 43rd place with round scores of 85, 79 and 90. Her final score was 38.
• Redshirt freshman Karyn Lee Ping finished tied in 54th place with round scores of 91, 86 and 81. Her final score was 42.
• Fairbairn finished in 60th place with scores of 83, 87 and 93, respectively. Her final score was 47.
• Eastern Michigan University finished in seventh place with a final score of 106.
Texas State University won the Jim West Challenge with a final score of 66.
The Eagles’ tournament placing is low so far, however, the team is optimistic this early in the year.
“We look forward to having a great season and to improve tournament by tournament going forward,” Kwon said.
Fairbairn isn’t worried about the team’s low placing over the weekend.
“We are really excited for the rest of the season and see good things for this spring,” she said.