The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Women's Golf team has their goals set high for the 2012 spring season as they got started this week at the Rome News-Tribune Invitational. The Patriot ladies started day one off a little rough, but bounced back on day two to come away with a 3rdplace finish on the week.
Day one was not what the Patriots wanted to start the season off with. Liz Stephens (Tockington, Bristol UK) led the team on day one shooting a 6 over (+6) 78. Laura Beth Harris (Glasgow, KY) followed closely in round one shooting an 81 (+9). Taylor Gillis (Lawrenceburg, KY) was third for the team shooting a day one 83 (+11). McKinzie Price (Somerset, KY) followed Gillis shooting a first round 90 (+18). Rounding out the first round for the Patriot ladies was Chelsea Branscum (Somerset, KY) as she shot an opening round 93 (+21). Christina Jimenez (Murcia Spain) and Shannon Bishop (Glasgow, KY) also competed as individuals in the tournament. Jimenez and Bishop both shot day one rounds of 82 (+10).
"We really struggled on Monday," said Head Patriot Golf Coach Chris Kraftick. "332 is not a number we should ever shoot in this program. We had been torn with the lineup decisions for days leading up to the event. Now we're going to reward good tournament performances."
Day two was much better for the Patriots as they got settled in and shaved off a big chunk of strokes from day one. Stephens shot one stroke better in the 2ndround finishing with a 77 (+5) and overall score of 155 to finish tied for 5thplace. Harris shot another 81 (+9) on day two finishing with a 162 overall and tied for 14thplace. Gillis shaved 4 strokes off her day one total shooting a 79 (+9) on day two to finish tied with Harris for 14thplace with a 162 overall. Branscum was the most improved of the team on the day cutting 12 strokes off her previous round shooting an 81 on day two (+9) to finish with a 174 and tied for 37thplace. Price rounded out the team shooting a 2ndround 88 (+16) to finish with an overall 178 and in 44thplace. Jimenez shot a day two total of 80 (+8) to finish with an overall 162 and tied for 14thplace. Bishop was just behind her as she shot a 2ndround 82 (+10) to finish with a 164 overall total and in 19thplace.
"We challenged the girls in our Tuesday morning meeting at the hotel and they responded so well with the 318," commented Kraftick. "Six players posted an 82 or better and as a team the team finished the last 5 holes at one under (-1). As coaches when you challenge a team and they respond it's really exciting. We moved up to 3rd and were able to beat a Mid-South Conference rival. Liz had a rough ball striking week but found a way to get it in hole and made All Tournament. Laura Beth competed hard and I think is close to playing really good golf. Taylor regained her confidence this week which is exciting and finished the tournament two under par (-2) on her last 6 holes. Our freshman Shannon and Cristina played as individuals and did a great job. They both are so talented and are starting to figure it out. Chelsea had a rough day Monday but responded with an 81 Tuesday and showed a lot of toughness doing so. We will see the same group of teams next week at Lee. We are going to shake up the lineup and reward the good play from this week. We know we have the talent to beat the top teams in the country, and our schedule is definitely going to give us the chance to prove it."
The Patriot ladies will be back on the links next week as they participate in the Lee University Invite in Cleveland, TN. First round action will begin on Monday March 12thand conclude on March 13th.
For more information on the Patriots women's golf team as well as other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.