The women’s golf team overcame poor first round weather conditions, injuries and a tough weekend from their captain en route to a strong second round, leading to a second place finish in the Brown Bear Invitational.
“The first round, the conditions were much tougher,” head coach Sara Doell said. “We didn’t quite get it done. It was windy, it was chilly. The tee times ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and we were towards the end. It got windier and colder as it went on. Certainly the conditions were harder.”
The Hall shot a 30-over-par, 318 in the first round, but bounced back, shooting a 15-over-par, 303, with the help of sophomore Erin McClure and a little bit of confidence.
“Leading into the second day we were in a more positive space,” Doell said. “We said at the beginning of the round the word of the day was confidence. We were going to walk with confidence, and that’s what they did. They felt better.”
McClure definitely showed that confidence, cutting nine strokes off her first round score (81) to finish the second round tied for the lowest single-round score at the tournament, a career-best 72. She shared the team-lead with classmate Ali Kruse.
“I was just feeling it,” McClure said. “My putting was going well, I could just read the putts better. On the first day, the greens were pretty hard, so on the second day I felt a lot more comfortable going up to the greens and feeling as though I could make the putts.”
According to Doell, McClure finished 2-under par on the last six holes on the second day, and similarly at the Hoya Invitational the weekend before, she finished 2-under in her last seven holes.
“This is how Erin has grown,” Doell said. “Last year she struggled to finish, and now she’s, ‘I got this.'”
The spike in confidence also reached freshman Karlie Zabrosky, who stepped in for Christina Cant??, who injured he wrist the weekend before at Georgetown.
“Karly played really well this weekend, she pulled through,” McClure said. “That’s what we needed from her.”
Zabrosky finished tied for 14th place overall with a 9-over-par 156, shooting 79 and 77 in the first and second round respectively.
Her performance helped the Pirates jump from tied for fourth to sole possession of second place.
“I think the comeback was the best that we’ve done,” Doell said. “Shooting 318 then 303, I think that’s the best first and second round that we’ve done. I think the jump was great. When we were tied for fourth, having a chance to catch Columbia and potentially Harvard, and we caught them both was huge.”
Junior captain Hannah Basalone struggled this weekend, shooting 9-over-par, 81 in both rounds. Both Doell and McClure saw the positive side of this, both saying that the team has incredible depth.
“It’s exciting to go into Big East with that confidence, knowing we can shoot 303 without Hannah and Christina,” McClure said.
Doell said the weekend gave the team more confidence heading into the Big East Championship this weekend, starting on Sunday.
“We’re walking with a little bit of swagger right now,” Doell said. “I don’t want them to be cocky by any means, but you have to have confidence. It just gives you something to draw off of.”
T.J. Brennan can be reached at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be found on Twitter @BrennansBite.