Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide starts season with victory in Texas

Led by All-Americans Camilla Lennarth, Jennifer Kirby and Brooke Pancake, the women’s golf team has started its season, seeking to bring home a championship. The team started off the season competing in the 2010 NCAA Fall Preview at the Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, Sept. 13-15. The Tide came out with a one-stroke victory over second-placed LSU.

“The best teams are at the [Fall] Preview,” said Lennarth, a senior and native of Sweden. “We showed that we are going to be competitive, and people shouldn’t be surprised.”

Teams that played in the tournament competed in the national championship tournament last season and are considered to be the best teams in the nation.

“[Winning the tournament] was a good start,” sophomore Kirby said. “The teams we played were at nationals last year. We proved we can win nationals and are capable of beating anyone.”

Last season, the Tide placed third at nationals and ended the season ranked No. 5 by Golfweek magazine. The season was considered to be the best in school history. This season the team started off ranked No. 4 by Golfweek/Sagarin in the preseason rankings. The ranking is the highest out of all southeastern schools. Head coach Mic Potter spoke on the team’s transition from last season to this season.

“Experience always helps, and our top three players had good summers,” Potter said. “We know we’re pretty competitive. We take each day of practice one day at a time, and our goal is to improve every day. When we go to tournaments, that to us is an evaluation of where we stand.”

Potter also said the academic workload on senior Courtney Harter has lightened this year, making her more ready and prepared to play. Harter is the only player in the team’s usual top five competitors who has won a college golf tournament. The addition of freshman Stephanie Meadow, who Potter says had a solid junior career, has also added depth to the team.

A native of Northern Ireland, Meadow was ranked third in the 2010 class by Golfweek/Sagarin. Meadow has had to make a couple of adjustments since deciding to join the team but says she is excited about what awaits for the season.

“I worked a lot over the summer adjusting to playing without my coach and learning how to make the adjustments and fix things by myself,” Meadows said. “I feel like if we keep working hard and do our best, then we’re in for a really good shot of doing something good this year.”

The success and improvements over the summer, along with adding depth, have been keys to creating a championship caliber team.

Over the summer, Lennarth was a medalist at the European Ladies Team Championship, Pancake had some success at the U.S. Women’s Amateur tournament, and Kirby was a U.S. Women’s Amateur semifinalist. Potter said the more successes that pile up for the team, the more they will be able to do those things on a daily basis.

This season, the team is scheduled to compete in eight tournaments including its next tournament, the Mason Rudolph Championship in Tennessee. The tournament begins Friday on the Vanderbilt Legends Course. Potter talked about what the team is working on to improve from the last tournament.

“We have been working on putting and short game; you can’t get too good at those,” Potter said. “Looking back on Texas, we did a lot well but still missed makeable birdies.”

The SEC Championship tournament will be held in Auburn in April, followed by the NCAA Regionals and Championship in May. The championship will be held on the same course where the NCAA Fall Preview took place in Bryan, TX.

Kirby spoke on the team’s goals regarding the major tournaments at the end of the season.

“Our main goals are to win SECs and nationals,” Kirby said. “We came close last year and, by the way we are starting off, we are definitely able.”

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