Photo by Brent Beerends / MT Athletic Communications
After taking second place in the regional conference championships, the Middle Tennessee State women’s golf is eager to start the season and take back their top spot in the conference in the 2017-18 season.
With the first invitational in Franklin, Tennesssee starting on September 15, the anticipation is over, and the players can get back to what they do best: play golf.
Since Coach Chris Adams became the coach for the Lady Raiders golf team, the team has never had a conference finish (Sun Belt or Conference USA) below fourth place since 2007-08. The team has also won two C-USA titles in the last three years (’15 and ’16) and haven’t finished below third after joining C-USA in 2013-14.
Coach Adams is hungry for the season to start this Friday.
“We are eager for this season to start,” Adams said. “We’ve been playing each other for so long that we are ready to start playing others.”
There is a little bit of the unknown for the invitational, which is normal for a younger team consisting of three freshmen in Caroline Caudill, Savannah Quick and Sophie Burks. Burks is dealing with an injury and Caudill and Quicks have yet to play at a collegiate level.
“We have three freshmen, two in the potential lineup (one that’s injured) and there is always a little bit of unknown in that, but they had great junior careers,” Adams said. “Even if there is unknown, we know they know how to play and we just have to get them in there, get them under the fire and get going.”
What can we expect from the players this season?
As leaders of the team, Hanley Long and Jenna Burris are eager for the season to start.
On August 23, Long and Burris won the Women’s Four Ball Championship for the second time in the last three years at The Lookout Mountain Golf Club in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
With last season being a growing year for the Lady Raiders, Long and Burris are excited to see how the team progresses this year.
“Knowing that our team is on the right track to being better than last year is super exciting, which means we have a better chance of winning,” Long says. “The chemistry is so much better this year.”
Long and Burris are also hoping that the team finishes in the top half of the tournaments this fall, instead of the bottom third.
“We did not have the best fall season last year, so I am hoping that we can finish in the top half of the tournaments we face,” Burris states. “We are facing very competitive tournaments this fall, so it would be great for the team.”
Burris is also excited for the team to go back to Missouri, which is one of her favorite courses.
“It’s a great course, and I’m hoping that we finish strong, which again, would be great for the team,” Burris said.
As for personal goals, Long and Burris are long the same lines.
With Long being a consistent player and being ready to get her competitive juices flowing after a long summer of working, her biggest goal would to bring down her scoring average, which currently sits at a 75.
“Bringing my scoring average below 75 would be a win in my book,” Long said.
She also strives to finish in the top ten or twenty players in every tournament this season.
Long is coming off a good spring, after finishing in the top ten in the C-USA tournament for the second year in a row.
Burris is also coming off a good spring, after placing in four tournaments in the top twenty and being the C-USA Individual Champion from last season.
Her summer consisted of practicing more than she played, but she is more than ready to get the season started.
“It can sometimes be hard to get back into the competitive mindset,” Burris said. “Starting off Saturday strong would be good.”
The team will be heading to Franklin, Tennessee to compete at the Vanderbilt Legends Club for the Mason Rudolph Invitational, starting September 15-17. Some of the teams that will be at the invitational include Vanderbilt, Clemson, Chattanooga, Northwestern and the reigning conference champions, Arizona State University.
Follow Sports Reporter Madison Zygadlo (@madszygadlo) for more coverage.
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