April 6, 2012
Lowell and 'Cats peaking at right time
By David Boyce
Northwest Missouri State women’s golf team heads into the Avila Invitational Monday and Tuesday feeling good about itself.
The Bearcats are coming off their first team victory this spring, winning the two-day Green & Gold Shootout earlier this week.
Northwest shot a two-day score of 657, beating out rival Missouri Western by five shots in the five-team tournament.
“It was good,” said sophomore Cassie Lowell, who finished second with a two-day score of 161. “We knew we had the lead going into the second day. We had to be consistent as a team to finally win a tournament this spring.
“There was definite improvement in our last tournament. All the scores we used were in the 70s and 80s. Our team score was the lowest it has been in a while. It was definite motivation for our next tournament.”
Northwest coach Pat McLaughlin was particularly pleased with the Bearcats’ effort on the first day of the tournament when they played at Mozingo. Temperatures were in the 80s and it was windy.
“It takes a toll walking up and down the hill,” McLaughlin said.
“We had some players do really well like Taylor Gard, who shot a personal best that helped put us in front. We shot a 328. We had a goal to shoot 325 Monday. I was very pleased with the outcome.”
Northwest faces a nice challenge in the Avila Invitational before competing in the MIAA Championship April 16-17 at Paradise Point in Smithville, Mo.
“Our goal is to continue to get some consistency,” McLaughlin said. “We have some players who will show a lot of brilliance in their performance and then at times kind of get in a funk and not play very well. Oftentimes, it is in the same 18-hole round. We’ve been working on consistency and course management so we don’t have a big number on a hole.”
The Avila Invitational will be held at the Fred Arbanas Course, which McLaughlin said is very long.
“It is going to be harder because it is longer,” Lowell said. “That is good just to stay consistent and keep the ball in play as much as we can.”
McLaughlin said the way his team is playing it is capable of shooting 320 to 325.
If the Bearcats do that, they will definitely enter the conference tournament with confidence, which is good since most of the players on the team are either freshmen or sophomores.
“We don’t want to be intimidated by playing in the conference tournament,” McLaughlin said. “I want them to go out and play their game and play the course and not to worry about the other players and other teams. If they do that they will be successful and have a good outcome.”
“If they think we are playing junior and seniors and we are freshmen and sophomores get to them like it did last year, then it does have an effect. With the success the girls have had this spring and against other MIAA teams, I really think their confidence is growing that we not only have the ability to compete with other MIAA schools, but also excel.”
Lowell said she is looking forward to the MIAA Championships.
“I have some improving to do from the last conference tournament,” she said. “I am definitely looking to play better.”
“I think with how we’ve done this year we can do pretty well in conference.”
Lowell and McLaughlin have different points of view on how she’s playing this season. Lowell said she had to work out some kinks in her swing this season.
“Cassie has continued to be just an awesome player for us,” McLaughlin said. “Without looking at the stat sheet, she has played in the top 10 in every tournament this year. She has the ability to get on a streak to come back from a bad hole to put birdies and pars together like no one else on the team can.”
One freshman off to a good start in her college career is Steph Charteris.
“She has been pretty consistent,” Lowell said. “She is definitely a good freshman. She is a very good addition to the team.”
On Monday and Tuesday, McLaughlin wants to see all his golfers turn it great scores. The season is nearing the end and McLaughlin believes these Bearcats can turn in a solid performance at the conference tournament. Playing well at the Avila Invitational will be another step in that direction.
“I want to see us play much smarter and be more prepared for MIAA Tournament so when we get to conference we are playing with much more confidence,” McLaughlin said.
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