Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Eagle Insider: NAC Women's Golf Championships

Edgewood College sophomore golfer Stephanie Leahan takes you on a trip around the course at the Northern Athletics Conference women's golf championships. Read along and get a feel for the successes and disappointments of a conference championship...

Glen Erin Golf Course is beautiful and serene except for the occasional plane taking off at the southwest Wisconsin airport. The course though had its share of challenges. The first day I was off to a great start on the front nine. It was pretty wide open and fairly tame but if you pulled it to far left or right you met the thick fescue grass, if you find the ball that’s great, but it’s whether or not you have the guts to try and hit it out without taking a drop. The fescue surprisingly wasn’t what was getting on my nerves, it was the greens. After the first hole I realized that being on the green just wouldn’t be good enough. The greens were large and sloped and extremely fast. If you were within five feet going downhill you barely had to touch the putter to the ball and it would reach the cup. I found that out the hard way on the first hole putting down the green with about seven feet to the hole, I got it to the cup, it hit the cup actually and then what everyone hates to see: the ball lipped out and rolled three feet past.

It took me about three to four holes to really figure out these greens but I still was no expert. You really needed to take advantage of the straight open fairways making sure you hit it solid so if you could get on in two or three you would have a better shot at four or a five. Although the greens were driving me crazy I was hitting the ball very well and keeping myself in contention for a reasonable score. Then the back nine came around. The fairways were much narrower, a lot more trees and many more ways of getting into trouble. If you didn’t hit it straight, you might as well have grabbed another ball and head for the point of entry because there is no way you’re getting that one back. I struggled horribly on the back nine but it was nothing I hadn’t seen before at any other courses. It took everything I had to keep my composure and finish the round knowing that my front nine score was going to be completely wiped out. Oh and it was, I ended the back nine with a 70, the worst score I have posted since I started playing golf. “This is what golf is; I kept thinking to myself sometimes it can be a big pain in the butt.”

I went out the next day excited to redeem myself for the first days blunder, constantly thinking “it’s just you against the course.” I played solid all the way around with no major slip ups along the way. I played even keel through all 18 holes no nine much better than the other. I was comfortable at this stage; I didn’t have the pressure of doing well on one nine and then trying to do the same thing on the next. It was a beautiful day and I was going to make the most of playing my last round of the season and end on a good note. I finished three strokes better than the day before and you can’t be unhappy with that. My teammates congratulated me on the improvement and I was even happier with them when I found out they had shot season low scores of 99 and 82.

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