The Lehigh women’s golf team tied for 10th in the Lady Bison Classic from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 in Panama City, Florida, at the Bay Point Golf Club.
Senior Hannah Foster said the tournament was difficult because the team has been practicing indoors due to Bethlehem’s colder climate. She said the team used this tournament as a gauge for what they need to improve on.
Having practices indoors on mats helps the team practice technique, Foster said, but it is different from the grass the team usually competes on.
Head coach Mary Kate Lynch said the team has been using a facility called Art of Flight. It has simulators, such as the “track man,” to help the team practice.
“‘Track man’ is a device that can track every single part of your swing and give instant feedback on the numbers such as the ball speed and your swing speed,” Foster said.
Foster said the team has had practices and workouts twice a week since Jan. 23, during which their coach has helped players make adjustments.
Lynch said the team flew to Florida the night of Feb. 10 and had to wake up between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. each day.
She said she thought the team performed well, considering they haven’t played a tournament round of golf since October.
Lynch said the team competed against many Southern schools that don’t have to deal with the climate issues that Lehigh faces.
“I felt like it was a really good outcome based on the rankings,” Lynch said. “We were able to beat Bucknell, who’s in our conference, by a lot. So that was one of our goals and we accomplished that.”
Lynch said she was impressed by first-years Yuki Zhu and Evelyn Wong, who had rounds of 74 during the tournament, a big feat considering the challenge of the course.
Zhu said they have not played in warm weather in a long time and the ground was very firm, which affects a player’s performance.
She said she practiced three to four times each week at school before the tournament.
During tournaments, the team is very busy. Zhu said the team woke up around 6 a.m. to compete, went to the practice range around 7 a.m. and teed off starting at 8 a.m.
“We had a lot of ups and downs this tournament,” Zhu said, “but it’s only the first tournament of the season and I feel like we still have time to prepare for the next competition.”
When asked about balancing school work and traveling on the road, Foster said her teammates support and help each other with their academics.
Foster said having a team with her, rather than playing the sport individually, helps her stay motivated, largely because she knows her teammates are facing the same challenges when it comes to balancing academics and athletics.
“We’re really excited for this season, and I think that we have really amazing players,” Foster said. “They’re going to do very well.”
The women’s golf team will play in the SMSU Spring Classic on March 13 and March 14 in Litchfield Park, Arizona.