The Patriot League Championships for women’s golf are held at a different location every year. This year, it’s Lehigh’s turn to host the event.
For the team, the opportunity to play on its home course has given it a slight advantage and also helped with the team’s preparation.
“Our preparation has been a bit different,” freshman Minuette Laessig said. “We are on course much more, mostly working around the greens because knowing how to play to certain pins will be our biggest advantage.”
The toughest team competing in this year’s tournament will be University of Richmond. The Spiders won the championship tournament last year in just their second year in the Patriot League.
The team is coming off a second-place finish at the Navy Spring Invitational, a two-day tournament that took place from April 8-9. The team was led by Laessig and sophomore Reagan Jahn, who both finished the weekend tied for 10th overall individually.
Even with the two underclassmen playing well, the focus has been on the team’s lone senior and captain, Elizabeth McGarrigle, who will be participating in her final Patriot League Championship.
“It is very bittersweet,” McGarrigle said. “I am going to miss my teammates very much when I graduate. It is amazing to have a group of friends who are all encouraging and so supportive.”
After a mediocre first day at the Navy Spring Invitational, McGarrigle is looking to keep the momentum she gained from her improved second-day performance where she posted a score of 79.
As a junior, McGarrigle was a first-team Patriot League selection and for the third time in three seasons, her 4.0 GPA earned her a spot on the Patriot League All-Academic Honor Roll team.
McGarrigle was selected as the team’s captain during her junior season.
During her senior year, her focus has been on improving her leadership skills. Because of this, McGarrigle has been more vocal within her leadership role.
In McGarrigle’s final week of practice as a Mountain Hawk, she is focused on enjoying her time with teammates and the process leading up to what will be her last Patriot League Championship.
McGarrigle understands how important it is that the team focuses on taking advantage of the opportunity to play at its home course.
“We are spending extra time every day taking practice shots from specific locations that we know are common or difficult places to be,” McGarrigle said. “We are able to make sure that we are completely comfortable and knowledgeable about the course.”
The mental comfort and knowledge of a home course is important considering the first day of competition is scheduled to consist of 36 holes.
Earlier this season, the team played a round at William and Mary that lasted 12 hours. Nevertheless, the team believes that playing at home will lead to a well-rested Lehigh team, both mentally and physically.
“Our goal is to simply play our best,” McGarrigle said. “Scoring 300 as a team is the ultimate goal and of course if we play our best, we will win.”
The tournament’s first tee time is scheduled on the Grace Course at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. The championships will last from Saturday to Sunday.