Rookie tops field of 80 at Bison Invite
The Rutgers women’s golf team did not disappoint in its opening tournament, the Bison Invitational, in Lewisburg, Pa.
Behind freshman Kortnie Maxoutopoulis, the Scarlet Knights finished second in the tournament to host school Bucknell by one stroke with a 54-hole total of 907.
On a soggy, rain-soaked course, Maxoutopoulis started her Rutgers career off with a bang, taking home the individual title and finishing ahead of 79 other golfers with a score of 214.
The Pleasanton, Calif., native is no stranger to success and was a highly sought after recruit out of high school, said head coach Maura Waters-Ballard.
“She’s a great athlete,” Waters-Ballard said.
Maxoutopoulis proved that quality right out of the gate.
The rest of the team turned in a solid performance, as well, in conditions that were less than desirable.
Senior captain Lizzy Carl cracked the top 10, finishing tied for 7th with a 225. Junior Brittany Weddell, who finished tied for 11th, carding a 227, finished right behind Carl.
Rounding out the scorecard for the Knights were junior Karen Cash and senior Elisa Mateer, who shot a 241 and 250, respectively.
“Everyone was very focused from start to finish,” Waters-Ballard said. “They all played as well as I know they can. As a coach, it’s very satisfying.”
Waters-Ballard knows the Knights are a work in progress and not an assemblage of talent that just blended overnight.
“We’ve been building the team for the past few years, feeding off each other,” she said.
Another key to the golfers’ success was turning the poor conditions and soft greens into an advantage.
“The greens were holding really well,” she said. “They were able to shoot at the pin.”
A one-stroke loss is not easy for anyone to stomach, but Waters-Ballard knows that it is not the way to view the tournament.
“Nobody wants to lose, especially by one stroke, but I’m very proud of my girls,” she said.
The competition at the Bison Invitational was nothing to overlook, and indicative of what the Knights can expect to see for the rest of the season.
“[The Bison Invitational] is a mid-difficulty level, and very prestigious in the Northeast,” Waters-Ballard said.
With the team starting off the year in impressive fashion, Waters-Ballard thinks it bodes well for the rest of the season.
She also knows the conference is just as strong as it always is, with teams like Notre Dame and Louisville most likely headlining the field, similar to last year.
The Knights placed sixth in last year’s Big?East Championships behind the Irish and Cardinals. Rutgers returns to action in two weeks at the Princeton Invitational before hosting the Rutgers Invitational in mid-October.
“My team can compete anywhere, even in the Big East Championship,” she said.