Sept. 5, 2013
Golf Sets High Hopes, Looks for Continued SuccessBy David Boyce
As the Northwest Missouri State golf team prepares for its first opening tee shot Thursday afternoon in the season-opening tournament at the William Jewell Early Bird Invitational, a few things will be evident.
Senior captain Kristina D’Angela, from Windsor, Ontario, will show the confidence of a player who has been through three years of collegiate golf.
“I am definitely relaxed,” D’Angela said. “I am not nervous anymore. I used to shake on the first tee and be super scared. Now, I am confident in where I am going to hit it, and I will hit it there.”
Another thing that will be obvious is the Bearcats are 100 percent sure the second day of the two-day tournament at Cardinal Hill Golf Course will not be snowed out. Temperatures are expected to soar into the low 90s.
The last time the Bearcats hit the links on April 22-23, they saw the second day of the MIAA Championships snowed out.
The bizarre, inclement weather possibly played a factor in Northwest narrowly missing the NCAA Division II Central regional.
Northwest entered the conference tournament ranked ninth in region. The top nine teams advance. “Even though we finished third in our conference tournament, we moved down one spot, just enough to bump the team out of regional,” Northwest coach Pat McLaughlin said.
“It wasn’t based on their performance and that was the upsetting part. If they would have flopped at conference tournament or something, say well maybe next year. They played really well the entire year to get that honor.”
Coming so close and falling just shy of a goal left a wanting taste in the returners, especially for D’Angela and the other senior captain Cassie Lowell. They want to help take the program where it has never been before.
“It was really hard not making it last year,” D’Angela said. “We worked our butts off all fall and spring. To get knocked out was really upsetting.
“We are excited. We want to get back in there and prove to them that we can make it into the top nine and we will.”
The first step towards that goal is the William Jewell Early Bird Invitational.
“I’d like to see us come out and win the first tournament of the year, shooting a score no higher than 320 as a team,” McLaughlin said.
“I want us to build on that success in the first tournament and gain the confidence we need for what really will be our most difficult fall schedule in the history of our program. I really set up some difficult tournaments with good competition in order for us to continue to elevate our level of play.”
McLaughlin has also set some high standards for D’Angela.
“I want to see Kristina have a stroke average in the 70s and to play in the top two position the entire year,” McLaughlin said.
When asked if she can meet that level, D’Angela gave a confident response about herself and the team.
“After playing tournaments this summer, I’ve been shooting low 80s, high 70s, so I am really confident I can do it,” she said.
“We know after all the practice this summer how good we can be. So we set really high standards for ourselves and we are going to try to achieve them.”
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