Rutgers searches for improvement in play at Richmond Invite
When many people were donning their Halloween costumes, the Rutgers women's golf team was finishing its preparation for the Richmond Invitational, which kicks off today in Midlothian, Va.
The Scarlet Knights did not compete in the tournament last year, held at Independence Golf Course. The Knights compete against 12 other teams at the par-72 course and hope to emerge victorious after two days of play.
The Knights' 2010 season has been a letdown, according to junior Elisa Mateer.
"This season has been a disappointment, especially with all the crazy lineup changes," Mateer said.
The Knights look to rebound from their ninth-place finish at the Rutgers Invitational and secure a top finish."
The team started the season off well with a third-place finish out of 16 competitors in the Bucknell Invitational, with senior captain Jeanne Waters finishing tied for first at the par-70 course.
In the three following tournaments — the Princeton Women's Invitational, the Nittany Lions Invitational and the Rutgers Invitational — the team recorded 10th, 16th and ninth-place finishes, respectively.
"We want to place within the top five," Mateer said. "Especially since the weather will be much nicer in Richmond."
The predicted forecast for the invitational suggests sunny conditions and temperatures in the mid-60s.
In order to further strengthen their focus and concentration, the Knights have been practicing diligently to turn the season around.
"Our putting and mental game must strengthen and we must look past bad elements," Mateer said. "We have to be able to forget all the bad shots and move past them."
The Knights' individual play has been strong at times, yet overall inconsistent throughout the season. The lineup, which includes Waters, juniors Mateer and Lizzy Carl, as well as sophomores Karen Cash and Brittany Weddell, shows flashes of brilliance.
"People have had to step up this season and Jeanne has been solid as always," Mateer said.
Waters started the season tied for first in the Bucknell Invitational with a combined score of 221 (71-78-72) at the par-70 golf course. She then went to place tied for 43rd and 41st at the Princeton and Nittany Lions Invitational, respectively.
Waters showed her leadership and bounced right back to finish first and two-over 74 on the par-72 Rutgers Golf Course.
Waters continued her excellent play and posted a total 160 (83-77) in the Rutgers Invitational and tied for third place.
"[Waters] has been our mentor since my freshmen year," Mateer said. "We are always traveling together and she is there to guide us."
The team will undoubtedly feel the effects of Waters' departure after the season, but the Knights will be in good position since they retain four of the five members of the starting lineup.
"Jeanne leaving will affect us significantly," Mateer said. "But we do have good recruits coming in to fill in the holes."
The Knights also have extra motivation to finish well at the Richmond Invitational, especially since it is the last tournament of the fall season.
After the tournament, Rutgers heads indoors to practice using simulators and train for the spring season, which begins on March 12 with another head-to-head match against conference foe Seton Hall.