Rain shortens prestigious event; Rutgers stuck in last place
The Rutgers women's golf team braved the elements this weekend to compete at the Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C. Following a rough rain-filled weekend, the team was not singing in the rain or laughing at the clouds after a last place finish.
"We didn't really get a break because it rained for four straight days," said head coach Maura Ballard. "It was a really challenging weekend."
Competing against a high level of opposition, the Scarlet Knights finished last in a field of 17. Regrettably for the Knights, the team could not complete any kind of comeback when rain suspended the third round of play due to unplayable conditions.
"I thought the girls were intimated and didn't play their best golf in the first round, so I was pretty disappointed," Ballard said. "I think they started playing better in the second round. Unfortunately we didn't have the opportunity to gain a few strokes with the stoppage of play."
Despite the disappointment of her team's performance, Ballard acknowledged that the field was a jump up in competition for her young team.
"This was the most prestigious event many of these players have ever been a part of," she said. "It will definitely be a growing experience.
Junior captain Jeanne Waters rebounded from a disappointing beginning to her season with a 163 over two rounds. Her second round score of 77 was the lowest single round score of the weekend for the Knights.
"Jeanne was just a little out of it for the first event [of the Bucknell Invitational]," Ballard said. "She worked hard and has a very strong mental attitude."
Sophomore Kristina Lee continued her strong play, tying Waters' team leading 163.
"Kristina's time management and mental focus are much better this year," Ballard said.
Freshman Brittany Weddell also continued her impressive campaign, finishing one stroke off the team lead with a 164.
With two weeks of practice before their next event, Ballard is ready to have the team improve its results.
"We have been working on our short game a lot but it is still an issue that needs to be addressed," she said. "However, I think our main issue has been the mental side of things. There have been way too many silly errors."
The Knights travel to the Penn State Invitational Oct. 3 to face a field that is as difficult as the one the Knights faced at Furman.
Yet Ballard said the experience at Furman will lead to better results.
"I think the girls will be able to learn from the mistakes they've made," Ballard said. "They are self motivated and ready to improve."