Women's golf tees off

North Alabama’s first women’s golf team finished ninth in their debut tournament in Clarksville, Tennessee. The girls faced 11 other schools in the F&M Bank APSU Intercollegiate at the Clarksville Country Club.

The Lions finished 98 over par at a total of 962 strokes, passing Eastern Illinois and Tennessee State with 168 and 177 over par respectively. Junior Analee Stephens tied for ninth individually hitting a 227 overall.

“Coming out in the first tournament, everybody is nervous,” Stephens said. “I think overall we did good. We’ve got a lot of stuff we need to work on, but I think it was a good start.”

The team is comprised of players who did not previously know each other. Some team members transferred from across the country, but all have experience on competitive teams and tournament life. However, there are no veteran players to teach the team what the women’s golf scene is like.

“I’ve completed two years of community college and have experience with a team dynamic,” said junior Arizona transfer Megan Fusak. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I think everyone brings something different to the team, and we each have our own strengths and weaknesses. We all help each other, and I think we’re going to have a very successful season.”

The tournament ended with Murray State in first with 29 over par, ULM at 41, Austin Peay State at 54, Findlay at 60, Belmont at 74, Radford at 83, Morehead State at 92 and UNC Ashville at 95.

“There were no existing bonds,” said head coach Neil Self. “I feel they’ve come together as a team. I’m happy with what we’ve done so far, but I know we have a long way to go and we can be so much better.”

The team members appear to have good chemistry so far, singing along to music and helping each other during practice. Golf is an individual sport where scores are based off the performance of one person rather than a team. That does not mean teamwork and synergy are not important.

“We have fun,” said freshman Hannah Pope. “I think it makes us feel more relaxed because we know we have each other and are so comfortable with each other. You can look across the fairway and see your teammate and it just makes you feel more confident and more comfortable with the situation.”

North Alabama finished eighth in the final round of the Fred Marx invitational Oct. 15 after the second day of the tournament was rained out. They play again Oct. 28.

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