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ND Women’s Golf

Irish looking to improve as they head to Texas

| Thursday, October 6, 2016

This weekend, the Irish will compete in the Texas State Jim West Challenge at the Carlton Woods Club in Woodlands, Texas. As usual, the field will be tough and the Irish will need to be prepared to play against top competition, Irish head coach Susan Holt said.

“They really haven’t posted the up-to-date rankings yet, but a lot of the teams that were at our first tournament at Oklahoma are gonna be at this event,” Holt said. “It’s a really good field so we’re going to have to be ready to compete for sure.”

The Irish will be looking to improve their ranking to better their chance of post-season play, and so this tournament — as any other — comes with high stakes for the team.

“We really only play eight tournaments a year and then we go into ACC [tournament] and post-season play, so every tournament that we compete in impacts our ranking and is going to influence whether or not we go to post-season play,” Holt said. “So yeah, it’s a very important tournament. It’s the second tournament of the year — we’re trying to gain some momentum here as we go through our fall season.”

Coming off of their last competition, the Schooner Fall Classic, Holt said the Irish know what they need to work on to continue to build that momentum — namely, cleaning up small mistakes.

“We were just a little sloppy last tournament. Just not converting easy up and downs, or what should have been easy up and downs. Course management wasn’t as sharp as it needs to be,” Holt said. “The talent level of this team is really good, but you still need to do all those little things well in order to score. With the level of competition that we’re going up against every single tournament, we need to be doing all those little things well in order for it to show up in our score. I think that’s probably the biggest thing that we emphasized was just cleaning things up, being focused, staying in the moment and just executing a little bit better, being a little more sharp.”

With new tournaments also come new courses, however, and the Irish will have to deal with the challenge of adapting to one at which they’ve thus far never competed.

“We’ve never played this golf course before — this is the first time we’ve ever gone to this tournament. So our preparation has really been just everybody focusing on their own games and fine tuning things, working on what they need to work on,” Holt said. “So we’ll play our practice rounds on Saturday and we’ll see the course and it’ll have to be a pretty comprehensive quick-study practice round leading into the tournament. A lot of the other teams participating are regulars at this tournament so they’ve got some experience on the course. So I would say that’s somewhat of an advantage for those teams. So we’ll just have to really be ready to play come the first round.”

Despite the disadvantage of dealing with unfamiliarities, the Irish feel ready and are eager to compete again.

“I know individually they’ve all been working hard and trying to address some of the issues that they may have had with their game at our first tournament at Oklahoma,” Holt said. “We did OK the first tournament but we all know we should do better. So I think they’re anxious to get back out and give it a go again.”

Play at Texas State Jim West Challenge begins Sunday and concludes Monday.

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