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Rutgers looks ahead to Sunflower Invitational

The Rutgers women’s golf team rolls right into the Sunflower Invitational from Sept. 17 until Sept. 19 at Kansas State. After finishing third in the first event of the season, the Rutgers Invitational, the Scarlet Knights look to continue their positive play for a second week in a row.

Rutgers fell to Delaware by three strokes and Georgetown by five strokes at the Rutgers Invitational. This is something that head coach Kari Williams sees as a positive and something that can be fixed.

“I saw a lot of great things at the Rutgers Invitational, I just think there are some edges that need sharpening a little bit,” Williams said. “We need to make a couple more putts and then we are going to be exactly where we need to be.”

With a team goal set at 300 shots-per-round, Rutgers came close to hitting its target with shooting 304, 308 and 302 in the three rounds last week. With one or two shots taken off of all five members' scores, the Knights would have reached that goal and won the tournament.

During the morning practice on Monday, Rutgers held a king of the hill tournament featuring a long drive competition, a wedge combine and a putting contest. Once that had ended, Williams tried to fix what went wrong at the event last week and implemented those corrections into her preparation for this week.

“We were always gonna have the contest, but then we did some coursework,” Williams said. “Individual practice, an hour on their own to work on the things they felt they needed to do, after playing in competition.”

Rutgers will use the same five competitors at the previous tournament for the Sunflower Invitational. Seniors Emily Mills and Tatum Jackson, redshirt junior Ashleigh Greenham and freshman Harriet Allsebrook will be competing once again for the Knights.

The battle for the last spot on the travel team was fierce and very close. “I am going to take Carrie-Ann Lee,” Williams said.

It was such a close competition between sophomores Carrie-Ann Lee, Ana Maria Cortes and freshman Lori Char, that one stroke made all the difference. As for who will be competing for the individuals, practice and qualifying during this week will determine the final roster spots going into the Sunflower Invitational.

Having a close group of golfers competing for a spot is important to Williams and is something that can be used to motivate a team. 

“It's gonna make us, as a team, so much better to have that competition for those last two or three spots to get into the lineup," she said.

Coming off of a top-25 performance as an entire team — including co-captain Ashleigh Greenham finishing as a runner up for the first event of the season — the Knights look to continue to stay atop of the leaderboard. Fellow co-captain Emily Mills looks to improve from her 12th-place finish last week and climb to the top as well.

This will be the first time that Rutgers will be competing at the Sunflower Invitational. Led by senior Connie Jaffrey and junior Chloe Weir, Kansas State will be a tough test for the Knights. The Wildcats had four top-3 finishes last season in tournament play. The notable wins were at the Chip-N Club Invitational in Nebraska and Westbrook Spring Invitational in Arizona.

Colbert Hills Golf Course, the course used by Kansas State, ranges 7,525 yards and is a par 72. On the 7th and 10th hole, they are both par-5’s with a distance of 600 and 614 yards, respectively. Both holes will certainly be a rigorous challenge to all teams in the competition.

“I want us to be competitive. I want us to reach our scoring goals and more importantly we want our players to achieve their individual goals,” Williams said. “Which is staying committed to the shots they are in, putting in good practices and feeling confident to hit any shot that they need too, out on the golf course.”

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

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