by Steven Watkins (Staff Writer)
It’s championship time in the Atlantic Sun Conference, and the Owls appear to be heading in hot.
With a second place finish at the Ole Miss Rebel Intercollegiate, KSU’s women’s golf team tied their season-best performance in the final tournament before the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, which begins Monday at the Jekyll Island Golf Course in Jekyll Island, Ga.
“That was huge for us,” said head coach Rhyll Brinsmead. “Obviously beating Kentucky, Tulane and other ranked teams and more importantly the win over ETSU was good for the confidence.”
The Owls finished six shots behind East Tennessee State University in last year’s A-Sun Championship, ultimately good for a second place finish, yet failing to defend their 2012 title. Brinsmead and the Owls look to reclaim that title this Monday when the three-day championship begins.
“Obviously our goal is to win it,” Brinsmead said. “At this point we do need to win to advance in the postseason, and I think that’s great motivation for the team at this point. Coming off a 2nd place at Ole Miss we feel really good about our chances.”
This will be the sixth time in Brinsmead’s tenure that the Owls will compete in the A-Sun Championship, but only the second time on this particular course.
“It’s a neutral site for the conference,” Brinsmead said. “It’s a good golf course. You’ve got to keep it in front of you. There’s a good amount of water and hazards out there, but it’s played well for us.”
Although the weather forecast projects rain beginning Tuesday, Brinsmead insists that the Owls will be ready to play, rain or shine.
“Golf is an outside sport,” Brinsmead said. “This year we’ve played in 90 degree heat and 35 degree weather. When you play golf, you know the one thing you can’t control is the weather, what you can control is your attitude and preparation.”
Simplicity and consistency are the key words to Brinsmead’s plan of approach.
“Our goal is to just play really boring golf,” she said. “Hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, and the more greens you hit, the more birdie chances you get.”
We’ve always said you can come back from a bogey with a birdie, and really just eliminating the big numbers, which in a championship will lose it for you.”
The Owls will enter play with a mixed bag of experience when it comes to the Jekyll island course, including 2012-2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year Ines Lescudier, as well as freshman Dulcie Sverdloff and Laura Estefenn.
Kaew Preamchuen, whose sister, Ket, led the Owls to their 2012 title, will play in the third slot, while junior Mette Kryger Pederson will round out the five competitors. Pederson was named A-Sun women’s golfer of the week on Wednesday.
“Two of the girls have played the course before, and I’ve been out there,” Brinsmead said. “In our preparation for this we really just focused on visualizing the course and talking to the freshmen about the different styles of holes, and we feel well prepared.”
“We’ve been really fortunate throughout the Spring—we’ve had a different player step up each week. Our goal is to have everybody really at peak performance, and that doesn’t mean having everybody shooting 66, but it does mean everybody really just playing smart golf.”