Rookie earns fourth at Princeton Invite

The Ivy League schools lived up to the compliments Rutgers women’s golf coach Maura Waters-Ballard gave them.

She said the Princeton Invitational field would be strong and the Ivy League schools would be tough, and she was right.

Ivy League teams took five of the top-six spots this weekend at the Princeton Invitational.

“The field was pretty tough,” Waters-Ballard said. “The Ivy League is really good at recruiting.”

The Scarlet Knights took ninth place with a 54-hole score of 940.

Leading the way for the Knights was freshman Kortnie Maxoutopoulis, who notched her second consecutive top-five finish, placing fourth with a score of 221. Junior Brittany Weddell also had a strong tournament, carding a 232, good enough for a tie for 20th.

Junior Karen Cash, who placed 38th with a 242, and senior captain Lizzy Carl, who finished tied for 44th with a 247, followed the pair. Senior Elisa Mateer, who finished 61st, shooting a 274, rounded out Rutgers’ card.

Not only did the Knights have to battle solid competition, but they also had to navigate a course softened by rain.

“The bunkers were really tough,” Waters-Ballard said. “The sand was a problem because of the rain.”

If the Knights hit a few more greens rather than sand traps, they could score with more ease, she said.

“The first and second round we could have played a little bit better,” she said.

Although ninth place was not where Waters-Ballard wanted her team to finish, she was still proud that the players showed consistent improvement and progression toward the season’s goals.

“We had some good scores.  We shot about our average,” she said.  “If we shoot [a total round score of] 315 or under, I’m satisfied.”

The team averaged slightly more than 313 per round.

The next action for the Knights is on Oct. 14, when they host the Rutgers Invitational.

Waters-Ballard and her team will use the long layoff to address any problems the players encountered during the Princeton Invitational.

Most of all, the team needs to work on the mental aspects of the game, Waters-Ballard said.

“[They need to work on] focusing on one shot at a time,” she said. “It’s such a mental game.”

Waters-Ballard does not expect scores to drop dramatically in the next tournament, but rather steady improvement throughout the season.

“We’re just trying to chip away every tournament,” she said.

Her goal is to use the consistent improvement, combined with the comfort of playing a familiar course, to put up a solid effort at the Rutgers Invitational.

With more than two weeks to prepare, the Knights have plenty of time to put up their best effort and continue to sharpen their games.

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