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Knights tune swings for Penn Invitational

The Rutgers men’s and women’s golf teams are busy preparing for their next tournaments. The Scarlet Knights opened up their spring season last weekend at the Homewood Suites Invitational in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

At the conclusion of the two-day event, the men’s team finished in fifth place. Sophomore Jonathan Renza and freshman Jacob Stockl, who both placed in the top 20 of participants, led the men’s team. Head coach Rob Shutte was pleased with his team’s effort.

“I liked our energy,” Shutte said. “To say that this was our first match, we had good clarity with each other.”

But Shutte does want to see some changes in the team as the season progresses. He needs to see improvement at each match.

“We need to work on our chemistry,” he said. “I know that we are just getting back into the flow of things, but the only way to get better is to play together. We could be better, so that is where good chemistry comes in.”

The Knights have one tournament under their belt. But Shutte is trying to get the team in the right mindset.

“I want my guys to realize that they have to compete for the entire season,” Shutte said. “I want them to always have that will to win. This will propel their desire to perform at a high level at all times.”

Before its next tournament, Rutgers will practice and work to improve its game. Shutte wants the Knights to get better with their swings.

“Our goal is to shoot for low numbers,” Shutte said. “Since stats dictate everything, they show that are putting needs to get better. So from here on out, we will be practicing a lot with our putting and some of our close shooting.”

The women’s team is also making changes and preparing for its next tournament. Head coach Maura Waters-Ballard wants the team to learn from its first event and maintain that motivation throughout the season.

“Our first match did set the tone for us,” Waters-Ballard said. “As we prepare for our next match, we have to work hard, practice hard and maintain that hunger to finish in a higher placing.”

Now that the season is in full swing, Waters-Ballard wants the players to realize they have to stay on top of their game at all times.

“Going into the next match, my players have to stay focused mentally,” Waters-Ballard said. “We have to keep our competitive edge and put 100-percent effort in all that we do.”

Waters-Ballard also noticed some things that she wants the golfers to improve in time for their next match because they can possibly place higher.

“We have to get better with our chipping and putting,” she said. “The only way that we’re going to see a difference is if we actually put time in to work on it.”

The teams have four more tournaments they will compete in during their spring campaigns.

The Knights’ next stop is the Penn Invitational on April 2 in Pine Hill, N.J. They look to use what they learn for this next tournament.

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