By Jennifer Winn
After three lengthy days of play in New Mexico, the women”s golf team finished 16th at the Dick McGuire Invitational in New Mexico Saturday.
The Cougars finished the tournament with a team score of 319-312-327-958 (+82) to put them 26 shots back from a top-10 finish.
“We have so much talent,” sophomore Natalie Newren said. “We”re just not putting everything together in order to get it done.”
The Cougars ended the first day of play Thursday in 16th place. The team made a bit of a turn around Friday, ending the day tied in 12th.
Head coach Sue Nyhus was optimistic after Friday”s turn around.
“It was a steady day today and we made a lot of progress,” Nyhus said. “The difference between today and yesterday was the team learned from their mistakes and where they needed to hit the ball yesterday and were able to do it today.”
“Everyone picked it up a notch and they”re capable of picking it up even more tomorrow,” she said.
The progress made Friday was slowed in day three of the tournament.
The lack of experience on the course led to difficulty for the Cougars. Only two players from BYU had competed on this course in past years.
“This is a really tough course and it requires a lot of experience playing it,” Nyhus said.
Another difficulty the Cougars faced was the unusually slick greens.
“Our scores don”t show how well we played,” senior Jessica Gardner said. “I hit the ball so well yesterday and hit it even better today where I was able to give myself more birdie opportunities; but it”s the fast greens that make you or break you.”
Gardner led the Cougars the first two days of the tournament, but by the end of play Saturday, Newren led the team finishing 39th with 78-78-79-235.
Newren struggled during the front-nine Saturday shooting a 43. She fought back to finish one-under-par on the back nine.
“When I made the turn, I had some time to sit for a couple of minutes and think about my rough front-nine,” Newren said. “I remembered what our assistant coach, Coach Dave, told me before we left for the tournament-”Walk like a champion, act like a champion, and play like a champion.” Right then I decided I wasn”t going to let the course beat me up because I knew I was better than that, so I turned it around on the back-side.”
Senior Jessica Gardner shot 80-77-82-239 and finished tied for 55th. Sophomore Margaret Gibby finished tied for 58th with 80-78-82-240. Freshmen Symantha Mendenhall and Danielle von Arnim shot 81-79-85-245 and 82-83-84-249 to finish tied for 76th and 86th.
Host New Mexico won the tournament with a seven shot lead over Washington and Pepperdine, shooting 297-292-302-891 (+15).
BYU has a week to rest and fine tune its play for the next tournament, the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational Oct. 7-9 in Washington.