Fall Season Review

Nov. 17, 2009

The University of Iowa women’s golf team has finished its fall season with added experience and a lot of progress. Despite finishing tournaments lower than anticipated, Coach Kelly Crawford has drawn several positives from the fall and remains very optimistic about the upcoming spring season.

“I was really pleased with the progress the team made all season,” Crawford said. “I felt that we were so close to having that breakthrough tournament. Although we did not `finish’ well in most tournaments, I remain very optimistic about our potential and our future success. We are really close.”

The Hawkeyes made progress in all but one tournament this year, going from shooting a team 964 in the Mary Fossum Invitational to kickoff the fall season, to an 888 score to end the season at the Onion Creek Challenge.

“Our scores have not shown our potential,” Crawford said. “Everyone has improved over the season and we continue to move in the right direction as a team. I think this last tournament was a taste of what we are capable of and that is great a way to end the fall season.”

At the Onion Creek Challenge, all five Iowa competitors recorded their lowest score of the season. With that, sophomore Chelsea Harris and junior Brianna Coopman recorded team-low and individual record breaking scores, 69 and 67, respectively.

“Chelsea got off to a bit of a slow start this fall but got it working the rest of the season” Crawford said. “She is a good ball striker and needed the good finish in Texas to help with her confidence. I look for her to come in this spring and play with the consistency I know she is capable of.”

Coopman and junior Laura Cilek each competed in all five fall tournaments and led the Hawkeyes in several tournaments. Coopman had the team’s lowest score at the Mary Fossum Invite (238) and Cilek at the Hawkeye Invitational (231).

“Both Brianna and Laura are hitting the ball better than ever before,” Crawford said. “I think that is adding to their confidence and their consistent play. A few less `bad holes’ per round next spring and we will see their scores drop.”

Freshman Kristi Cardwell competed in every tournament this fall and posted a 78.2 average per round, second only to Harris with a 77.2. Cardwell recorded the team’s lowest score at the Johnnie Imes Invitational (231).

“Kristi played well and I am thrilled about her potential,” Crawford said. “I knew coming in that she would be contributing, but to be second on the team in scoring, as a freshman, is quite impressive. I know she has learned a lot this past fall and I expect her to be much more consistent in the spring.”

With the fall season completed, and winter coming closer, Iowa’s outside practice time is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean that the Iowa golfers off season won’t be full of golf.

“When the team comes back from winter break we will spend four days a week in the bubble and in the putting room in the Field House,” Crawford said. “Most of that practice will be to focus on mechanics and work out some kinks. We will spend a lot of time with the short game and working on shots from 100 yards and in. We will also continue to strength train and work with the sports psychologist.”

The Hawkeyes are slated to start the spring season March 7-9 at the Eagle Landing Invitational in Orange Park, FL.

“Our biggest challenge may be that first tournament in March,” Crawford said. “That will be our first event in over four months. For some of the girls it will be the first time on grass in just as many months.”

Following that, Iowa will compete at the Jack Rabbit Invite (Primm, NV), Indiana Invitational (Bloomington, IN), Lady Buckeye Invitational (Columbus, OH) and Big Ten Championships (Madison, WI).

“We will remain optimistic and strive to reach our potential,” Crawford said. “This is an amazing group of women, all of whom are highly competitive. By no means are they pleased with our performance this fall. I expect we will build our confidence and put up the scores we are capable of shooting. Our final goal of the season will be to improve on last year’s finish at Big Ten’s.”