After placing third as a team at the Diffee Ford Lincoln Invitational, Northwest golf enters the second leg of its 2018-19 season with one goal in mind: qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships.
At the invitational, the Bearcats produced a two-day, two-round score of 630. This mark tied the third-best two-round score in Northwest history.
Sophomores Mady Acers and Morgan Theile led the Bearcats by placing 13th overall. Acers shot the low score of the two rounds, carding a 75 during the first day of play.
Seniors Nikki McCurdy and Elise McDonough also placed in the top-20 for Northwest, tying for 18th place with a score of 159.
“We competed well and shot a total score of 630, which is fantastic for us,” coach Andy Peterson said. “I was so proud of the girls, considering this is the first time that we’ve had grass under our feet and to go out and shoot that low is really impressive.”
In its 12th season in existence at Northwest, the women’s golf program has made strides in making a name for itself within the MIAA. Peterson is optimistic about the low scores to start the 2019 season, considering weather has restrained the opportunity to practice on the course.
“It really speaks to the girls’ competitiveness and grit,” Peterson said. “Our physical preparation has been minimal with all the weather and snow we’ve received.”
While the weather has been an issue to the team entering the season, experience and leadership have been the answer. Northwest has returned all eight of its starters that it had during the 2017-18 campaign.
“I would say even though we have five sophomores, our experience is a strength,” Peterson said. “The five played a significant amount of rounds last year, and then the upperclassmen have seen that many more rounds, so we’re comfortable competing in the spring this year and ready to go.”
Many aspects go into the game of golf including ball path, optimal swing speed, correct club use and even grass length. But maybe the most important piece that affects the entirety of the round is the seven inches between the ears: the mindset.
“The biggest challenge we have run into is our mental game,” Peterson said. “Our kids have shown today that they are ready for that challenge, we just have to continue to have that mindset as we play in adverse conditions.”
The Bearcats, throughout the season, will continue to strive for the end goal. Something that the program has never seen before and is something that is dreamed of at the beginning of each season. The opportunity to compete in the NCAA regional championship.
“We are in a really tough conference and competing at a high level is a must,” Peterson said. “Beyond that, we are on the bubble in terms of qualifying for the NCAA regionals for the first time ever as a program. It would be really special for these girls and this program.”