Knights focus on mental game with short week
The Rutgers women’s golf team had nearly three weeks of preparation between its past two tournaments.
The time elapsed resulted with the Scarlet Knights placing second at the Rutgers Invitational.
For their upcoming tournament in Bethlehem, Pa., the Knights prepared for only one week. And on top of the short period, heavy rains Wednesday took away an outside practice day.
But head coach Maura Waters-Ballard found a way to make the day meaningful.
“We watched a DVD by golf guru Bob Rotella on mental game,” Waters-Ballard said.
The Knights were back out on the course yesterday, getting in last-minute work before Friday’s practice round.
Prior to the Rutgers Invitational, Waters-Ballard had the team focus on the mental part of the game to supplement each player’s physical game, which for everyone is up to par, she said.
“Everybody is in good shape,” Waters-Ballard said. “They are really comfortable with the way they are swinging and putting.”
And thanks to the Rotella DVD, the Knights have quality thoughts heading into the weekend, she said.
If the Knights can replicate their performance from last weekend, they are in good shape since the field at Lehigh is similar to the one they saw at Rutgers, she said. The tournament is also the same length — two days and 36 holes — so they already proved they can hold focus.
All they need to do is remember they can put up the kind of performance they did at Rutgers and make another run at the title, Waters-Ballard said.
“It’s all about confidence and getting into that mental zone,” she said. “They have to focus on every shot.”
And while they do not have knowledge of the home course, the Knights no longer have the pressures of family and friends watching them, which can work in their favor.
Waters-Ballard looks for her team to put up the same numbers it did in the first round at the Rutgers Invitational.
“If they put up two rounds of 303, I’ll be very happy,” she said.
The course they have to navigate is Saucon Valley Country Club, which played host to several USGA tournaments and championship events.
The location means that while the weather figures to be better than the past few tournaments, the course itself is enough of a challenge.
The men’s team is also in action this weekend at the same tournament. It takes the course trying to improve upon a 12th-place finish at the Barnabas Health Intercollegiate.
The tournament serves as the fall finale for the men’s team, while the women’s team still has the Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Kapolei, Hawaii, on its schedule.
For the men, the Lehigh Invitational tells them what they need to work on over the winter.
For the women, it is not only another chance to bring home a victory, but also preparation for a tournament the furthest distance from home they ever played.