Matt Zimmerman, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
Chris Ferguson, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor
Last week, the Berry College women’s golf team traveled west to California. The team departed from Atlanta on Friday afternoon and arrived in San Diego. Upon arrival, the coaches surprised the players with tickets to the LPGA Kia Classic, which is a women’s professional golf tournament in southern California on the LPGA Tour. The team spent the whole day watching the professionals practice, play and sign autographs.
During Berry’s spring break, the team had a big week of preparation for a tournament in Jekyll Island, Ga. The team finished sixth overall with a standout performance by sophomore Jorie Hodapp, finishing in eighth place. Because of their commitment to practicing during the break, the first half of this golf trip was spent relaxing, as if it were spring break.
After their stay in San Diego, the team traveled northeast to Indio, California, where they played a practice round on Sunday in preparation for the Ogio Bulldog Classic tournament.
“California golf is a lot different than what we’re used to, and you can tell by our scores,” Hodapp said. “We were all challenged mentally and physically, and had to sit down and come up with a solid game plan after the first round.”
Despite this, the team was able to improve their scores on the second day and were able to finish the tournament strong. The team shot a 663 to finish 13th overall and were only 3 strokes away from tying for eighth place. Once again, Hodapp placed eighth individually, shooting a 154.
Although the team did not finish like they may have hoped, Hodapp believes each player was able to take something away from the trip.
“For me, it was learning to attack the golf course with each shot, and not let an unfamiliar state, course or competition get in the way of playing my game,” Hodapp said.
This tournament allowed the team a firsthand look into how teams in different regions of the country play. Because of the competition they faced, the tournament may prove to be a solid transition into SAA conference play. The team is looking to finish their season strong with only two tournaments remaining on their schedule.
This upcoming weekend, the team will be traveling to Dickinson, Tennessee, for the SAA preview tournament on Sunday. This will give the Lady Vikings an opportunity to show what they learned from their California trip and see how they match up against conference opponents. Earlier in the season, the team had a solid performance against these opponents at the Chick-fil-a Collegiate Invitational in Rome. If the team is able to replicate this outcome, the team should have a strong performance in the SAA conference tournament.