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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Women’s Golf drives down rocky course

The Grinnell Women’s Golf team has been working hard this season in preparation for this year’s Midwest Conference Championship tournament with somewhat mixed results. Last weekend, Sept. 23-24, the team traveled to Pella, IA to compete in the Central College Fall Invitational, placing second in the six-team field.

Mallory Messin ’13 led the team, taking second place individually on a two-day tally of 165 (21-over-par). Also on the leader board, Hailey Speck ’15’s debuted with a 168-stroke (24-over-par) performance earning her a third place finish. Grinnell’s team score of 693 placed them 11 strokes behind hometown champions Central.

“That was actually one of the hardest courses I’ve ever played,” Elaine Teo ’12 said. “For such a tough course, I think we did really well, especially coming in second.”

The second place finish ended a stroke of less competitive performances.

Grinnell’s 333 and 330-stroke rounds at the Sept. 10-11 Wartburg Invitational were good enough to break and then re-break school records, but their cumulative score of 663 only yielded a seventh-place finish in the 20-team tournament. In the following weekend’s Illinois Wesleyan Fall Classic, the team placed 14th in a 26-team field, with a score of 677.

While Grinnell regularly ranked in the middle of the standings at these tournaments, the team’s coach, David Arsenault, feels they can compete at a higher level.

“We have been consistently inconsistent. … Everyone has had a good tournament and everyone has had a tough tournament,” Arseneault said. “To date, we have not pieced it all together.”

The team hopes to work on this issue in time for the upcoming Midwest Conference Championship, scheduled for Oct. 17-18 in Springfield, Ill. The ultimate goal is to improve on their third-place finish in last year’s tournament.

Towards this end, the team has stepped up the intensity of their practices.

“This year we have a more set schedule,” Teo said. “I’ve seen it develop from a very social thing [to where] it is very competitive now.”

This means more structured practices, a serious attitude on the part of the players and weekly trips to the Harvester Golf Club in Rhodes, IA to train on greens of a similar speed to those found in tournament-play.

“We’ve been taking our training pretty seriously,” Hailey Speck said. “Thursdays we go 45 minutes away to practice putting and chipping to ensure we’re getting the best quality of short-game practice. … [At the Grinnell Country Club] we make sure that we get to the range and that we also get plenty of time on the course.”

The team hopes that their hard work will pay off in the MWC Championship, where Wisconsin’s Carroll University looks to be the main competition.

“The Midwest Conference tournament is shaping up to be a ‘two-horse race,’” Arsenault wrote. “Carroll University beat us fairly soundly at the Illinois Wesleyan tournament and is the two-time defending conference champion. We will need to be operating ‘on all cylinders’ to beat them.”

According to Arsenault, the difference could be one Pioneer who isn’t necessarily at the top of the leader board, but has made her presence felt throughout the season, both on and off the course.

“Natalie Klee [’13] has been consistently shooting in the high 80s and is always in the middle of everything that goes on with this team,” Arsenault wrote. “She is due for a breakout performance, but regardless of whether or not that occurs, she is the ‘pulse’ of this team.”

In preparation for the upcoming Conference competition, Grinnell will host their own tournament: the Grinnell College Invitational scheduled for 11:00 a.m. this Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Grinnell Country Club. It will be the team’s first home tournament in three years.

According to Speck, playing on their home course may very well give the team the edge they need to win the tournament.

“We’ve all played the course so many times that you can picture every hole in your head,” Speck said. “That’s a definite advantage going into a tournament, as opposed to being completely blind and working off of a blank slate.”

The Grinnell College Invitational will begin at 11 a.m. at the Grinnell Country Club on Saturday, Oct. 1.

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