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Course conditions trouble Knights in last-place finish

The Rutgers women’s golf team was hoping to have its best performance of the season at the AAC Championship but failed to do so, struggling mightily in Palm Coast, Fla.

The Scarlet Knights finished last out of seven teams yesterday in the three-day event.

The Knights entered the tournament looking to improve on their past performances and have all their hard work from the season culminate in one final triumph at the AACs.

Rutgers struggled as each individual on the team shot 10 strokes or more over par in the first two rounds. Sophomore Christina Paulsen was the only exception — shooting four strokes over par in round two.

The Knights shot a 336-328-327 in the tournament for a combined score of 991. They shot 121 strokes over par in the tournament — 41 shots more over par than the team that was in front of them.

Head coach Maura Ballard emphasized the course conditions playing a role in the team’s poor play, noting that other teams in the tournament shot over its averages as well.

“Course set up was very hard because it was right on the beach, as the weather played a role,” Ballard said. “It was very windy and it was rainy in the first two rounds. [The conditions] made it more difficult when it came to the placement of the ball.”

The Knights did improve every round in their combined score, but not a big enough upgrade to move up in the standings.

Paulsen paced Rutgers shooting 238 to finish 22nd in the 38-player field.

Freshman Taylor Clark and Maddy Gedeon both carded 250 to finish tied for 32nd, while sophomore Gabrielle Sacheli tied for 34th with a score of 253.

Sophomore Samantha Moyal struggled in the first two rounds, shooting 87 in both. A back injury she had dealt with in recent weeks prevented her from finishing the tournament.

Rutgers did not do itself any favors when it shot 48 strokes over par in Round 1, putting the team in a bad position to try to move up in the standings.

Although the Knights made an eight-stroke improvement in Round 2, their performance was still not good enough to move up in the standings. Round 3 was much of the same, with the exception of a one-stroke improvement from Round 2.

Although the results were not in Rutgers’ favor, Ballard was proud of the way the golfers continued to compete.

“The girls kept their focus, stayed in it and played the best they could,” Ballard said.  

In all, the Knights shot a total of 94 bogeys and 30 double bogeys or worse.

The amount of bogeys and double bogeys did not put the team in a position to succeed in the tournament and perform to its capabilities.

Ballard felt that the pressure might have gotten to the players, noting that the young team was excited about the prestige of the championships, which could have played a factor in the performance.

If Rutgers can take anything positive away from the result, it is the experience gained, with all five Knights that participated returning next season to compete.  

For updates on the Rutgers women’s golf team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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