The Minnesota State Women’s Golf team is back on the green Monday and Tuesday for the Wayne State Invitational. The Mavericks head to Wayne, Nebraska for their third competition in as many weeks.
Last time out, the Mavs competed in the 2023 NSIC Preview where they finished in fourth place with a total team score of 652. The winner of the six-team event was Missouri Western State, with a team score of 623. The Griffons were 19 strokes ahead of second-place Concordia University, St. Paul, which shot a 642.
In preparation for the upcoming invite, the team is looking to take advantage of the balmy Minnesota weather.
“Starting tomorrow we’ll be able to get outside,” head coach Alex Schmitz said. “In the facility they’ve been working on their putting, but short game is still a little bit tougher inside.”
Schmitz said he considered using outdoor fields to work on chipping, but it was still a little bit wet at the end of last week, so that work will get pushed to later in the week.
The team will have four days of moving up and down the greens before setting foot in Nebraska Sunday. Schmitz said he hopes this will be a ticket for his players to stay consistent.
Schmitz said that, while the team will play practice rounds, those rounds won’t necessarily predict how well they’ll play in actual tournaments.
“I’ve played in a lot of tournaments,” he said, “big tournaments and practice rounds, where just because you had a bad practice round, that doesn’t dictate you’re going to play bad during your tournament, or you’re going to have a really good practice round doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to play a really good tournament.”
Coming off a preview where the team got hit between the eyes with the reality that conditions may not always be favorable, Schmitz said he wants his squad to give themselves as many different looks as they can during the practice round.
“In the practice rounds, instead of going out and playing the hole as it is, dropping a couple extra balls around the greens and throwing a couple balls in the bunkers, hitting a different shot off the tee box than you normally would, hit a normal one, but also maybe hit a three wood, hit a different iron off the tee. Just give yourself different looks on the golf course to be more versatile,” Schmitz said.
The Mavs will lean on the team’s experienced leaders for some knowledge of the course as four of the six women have competed at the Wayne Country Club before.
“It’s really cool when you have the seniors or the upperclassmen that we have, that have played at all these courses,” he said. “They can always talk to the freshman or the gals that haven’t played there before and just get to a point where it’s like, ‘Hey, this hole sets up like this,’ ‘Last year we did this, it worked really well,’ or ‘Last year our coach told us to do this, it was not good.’”
The team will look to take the momentum from the first day of the preview into the Wayne State invite and continue the good habits they built there like not forcing birdies or pars. Staying patient and not forcing things are two points of emphasis for the Mavs as they head into this competition.
Write to Mohamed Warsame at Mohamed.Warsame@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: Minnesota State’s Women’s Golf team prepares for their last invitational before the NSIC Championships. (Courtesy MSU Athletics)