Knights notch mixed results at Seton Hall Pirate Invitational
The Rutgers women’s golf team took a short road trip up Interstate-287 to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for the Seton Hall Pirate Invitational last week on Thursday and Friday.
Although there were no Big Ten Conference members who took part in the match, the Scarlet Knights were competing for something almost as important as a conference victory.
The Knights were playing for bragging rights against in-state foes Seton Hall and Princeton.
Before official play began, the Knights took a trip to Trump National last Wednesday afternoon for a practice round.
“It was one of our warmer days here back up at home,” head coach Kari Williams said on her team’s practice round. “But the wind was blowing about 20 miles per hour, so we definitely worked on obviously playing in the wind and just trying to get a feel for the golf course.”
The Seton Hall Pirate Invitational was played on the New Course at Trump National. Renown for its quality and beauty, the Club as a whole is rated in the top-100 Golf Courses in the world.
Heading into the Pirate Invitational, Williams thought the par fours might be challenging with the high winds.
“There are a couple of par fours that are a little bit longer and into the wind and it makes them pretty difficult,” she said. “The course in general is playing very long. There’s not a lot of roll. It’s a very hilly course. … In this kind of wind where you’re hitting hybrids and longer irons into the greens and then add wind on top of that, it’s really difficult to hold the greens."
As a unit, Rutgers compiled a 322 score on Thursday after playing 18 holes on the 7,511-yard, par 72 New Course.
Junior Jacquelyn Mullens had one of the top scorecards of any golfer at the conclusion of the first round. She shot a 77 to turn in a round five over par.
“Jackie Mullens had a first round 77 which was a great score and one of her best for the year in probably some of the toughest conditions we’ve played in for the year,” Williams said.
Junior Christina Paulsen played a solid round by posting a plus-eight, 80. Freshman Emily Mills shot a plus-nine, 81, while fellow freshman Tatum Jackson had a plus-12, 84.
“The conditions on the first day were very difficult,” she said. “I don’t know what the wind was steady for the day. I would guess 15 to 20 miles an hour and then gusts probably around 30 miles an hour. The course is very open so you just take the brunt of it. I thought our play the first day, although our score was higher than the second day, was really good except for a few holes where some people made some big numbers was pretty good.”
Georgia led the field at the conclusion of Thursday’s play with a 297, followed by Princeton (300) and Columbia (315).
On Day Two, Mullens had another good round by shooting a plus-nine, 80 and raised her total score to 157. She had the highest finish of any Knight, ending the tournament at 22nd in the standings.
Mills shot a plus-seven, 79 and finished just three strokes behind Mullens with a final mark of 160 for 35th place.
“Emily played steady again,” said Williams. “It was very hard with distance, I don’t think she’s hitting the ball as far as she normally does on the second day. As a freshman, she’s been you know, a good player for us, very consistent, and I’m happy with where her game is.”
Jackson finished in a tie for 39th in the standings with a 162. She shot a plus six, 78 in Friday’s play.
“Obviously, we would have liked our team outcome to be a little bit higher,” Williams said. “We were sitting in, I think, seventh at the start of the first day. In our game, it’s just a shot here or there and all of a sudden we drop four spots. I saw some really good things from some players. Our goal is to compete for the Big Ten Championship and to keep preparing our games. …We just need to tighten up a few things, sure up a few things and I think we’ll be in good shape.”
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