RU duo aids in second-place finish at Invite
The Rutgers women’s golf team had its best statistical performance of the season this weekend at home at the Rutgers Invitational, as it captured second place among 21 teams.
With a 610 (304-306) final scorecard for the 36-hole event, the Scarlet Knights averaged 16.9 strokes per hole as a team, better than the 17.3 strokes they averaged in their first two tournaments.
Seton Hall won the invitational with a 603 (299-304) scorecard, the only team the Knights did not beat by at least 10 strokes.
Sophomore Kortnie Maxoutopoulis and senior co-captain Brittany Weddell continued their strong play to lead Rutgers, tying for second place individually among 119 athletes with respective scores of 150.
Head coach Maura Waters-Ballard was pleased with how the Knights defended their home course and showed improvement, despite falling short of their goal of winning the tournament title.
“We’ve really been practicing very hard and working a lot on how we play the Rutgers golf course,” she said. “I think we really did well, coming through with some of our plans and course management. Everybody’s attitude has been so great.”
In addition to enhancing their physical skills at home, Waters-Ballard stressed the importance of mental game with a young team.
“Staying in the present moment — that’s really important in golf,” she said. “You can’t get too down about anything you’ve done in the past — a bad shot you might’ve hit or a three-putt. You just have to leave that behind you and keep looking forward, be really focused.”
Through recent instruction from arguably one of the top sports psychologists in the world, the team’s golfers have made strides in the area, she said.
“We’ve been working on some mental game strategies from Dr. Bob Rotella,” Waters-Ballard said. “I think the girls are doing a fabulous job putting those into place within their games.”
The emergence of freshman Gabrielle Sacheli was a pleasant surprise for the Knights.
The Pittsford, N.Y., native posted a score of 153 to finish third on the team’s scorecard and 11th individually. It was the first time she placed in the top five for Rutgers in her young collegiate career.
“[Sacheli has] really gotten adjusted with her class schedule and practice schedule,” Waters-Ballard said. “She’s really worked hard on her game and time management, and she’s in the zone and ready to perform. I’m really happy with how she’s acclimated herself with the college strict schedules.”
Freshman Melanie Chambers and senior co-captain Karen Cash produced the remainder of the final scorecard, with respective shot totals of 157 and 165.
Waters-Ballard believes the Knights put forth their best effort and should not hang their heads on finishing in second place.
“We made a plan, and I think everybody followed through and held their own,” she said. “I think everybody did what we needed them to do. If we can just continue with that same mindset and work ethic, we’re going to have a lot more success this year.”