The Seton Hall women’s golf team is off to its lowest Golfstat team ranking, 54th, since the program began in 2010, thanks to stellar play from top to bottom.
Among the golfers having wonderful seasons is Maddie Sager. Two of the biggest goals coming into the season for the Phoenixville, P.A. native was to lower her scoring average – a feat she has accomplished every year – and win her first tournament.
In her sophomore season at Seton Hall, Sager came the closest a golfer can get without winning a tournament. At 1-under-par, she forced a playoff with the teammate Mia Kness at the 2017 Brown Bear Invitational but came up short in extra holes.
Sager found herself in a similar situation at the Nittany Lion Invitational this season, leading the tournament after tour rounds firing in a 69 and 70 in the par-72 event. On the third day, Sager dropped three strokes but found herself tied to another teammate, Sarah Fouratt. The sophomore’s exceptional third round tied Seton Hall’s par-72 single-round record with a 4-under-par 68.
“That was such an exciting moment to get that trophy but I’m still in the hunt for more,” Sager said. “I still want to get my own individual win and win more tournaments to help my ranking because after that tournament, my ranking dropped so low. I want to keep that up to see how low I can go, and it helps the team as well.”
Sager and Fouratt shared the individual champion trophy as the Nittany Lion Invitational did not have a playoff.
Sager’s last three starts are the Nittany Lion Invitational with
a win, the Princeton Invitational where she got her second top-10 finish and the most recently, the Delaware Lady Blue Hen Invitational where she fought back to finish in the Top 25. On the sixth hole at the Delaware Lady Blue Hen Invitational, Sager finished in 10 strokes. She found the water with her tee shot and, instead of taking a drop she chose to tee off again and found the water again. Sager would go on to find the bunker and get on the green after that but the damage was already done in the rain.
“The biggest thing for me is figuring out the game I’ve got when it’s not perfect,” Sager said. “I didn’t put my rain glove on at that moment, there was a big pond to right where I sliced my drive and it went in there. I was not in a great mental state so, I put a second one in the water. My coach walked with me and it helped to get in a better mindset to set goals for the rest of the round – I wanted to be even on the back nine and get eight greens.”
Sager did reach all but one green in regulation and went two under par on the back nine. The only green she did not hit ended in a birdie.
Women’s golf has won a tournament and finished runner-up and third place in the other two. Sager will look to conitnue her recent success wth the rest of the Pirates as they close out the Fall schedule next week at the Idle Hour Collegiate Championship in Macon, Georgia.
“For last three years, we have not gotten first so I would love to win Big East,” Sager said. ” I would love to drop my individual ranking to top-80 because that would give me an automatic bid to Regionals. We have a really good attitude going into playing and because everyone’s trying to stay in the lineup, it creates a competitive rivalry with each other. We just ant to win as many tournament as we can in the Spring.”
Evando Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @ethmps.