Women’s golf team prepares for Puerto Rican tournament

Courtesy photo: ISU Athletics

Courtesy photo: ISU Athletics

Mark Schafer

The upcoming trip to Puerto Rico will not be a vacation for the ISU women’s golf team; it will be what brings the team out of vacation.

After a 110-day hiatus from golf tournaments — the last one wrapping up at the end of October — the team will expect to get off to a strong start to the 2012 golf season.

“It’s been a while since we have been in a tournament, but the team has really started to work harder these last couple of weeks,” said coach Christie Martens. “Last year we finished second at this tournament so we would like to improve on that.”

Last year at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, the Cyclones finished just five strokes out of the lead. This year, with just two freshmen on the team, experience could be a factor for the team.

“This year, most of us have been to the course so we know what to expect with the layout and that should help us,” said senior Kristin Paulson. “With most of us, returning the novelty of going down to Puerto Rico wears off, so that shouldn’t be a distraction like it might have been in the past.”

One of the big competitors that will be facing the Cyclones, aside from the long break and tropical weather of San Juan, will be the other Big 12 schools that are attending the tournament.

“Usually this is an early test because we are coming off the break and there are a couple Big 12 schools that come down and participate,” Martens said. “Last year there were three Big 12 schools there, this year only Texas Tech and Oklahoma State will be at the tournament.”

In addition to the Big 12 competition, there is one more factor that will not make the tournament an early season vacation: the length of the tournament.

“It is a long tournament. It’s only three days, but it felt like it was longer last year,” said sophomore Prima Thammaraks. “Keeping focus for all three days and not letting the previous mistakes catch up to you is very important.”

Last year, Thammaraks finished in a tie for 16th place overall for the tournament.

“The days don’t drag on, but they do seem to be a little longer in Puerto Rico,” Martens said. “We just have to focus on the next round and not let the humidity get to us, this tournament is a good reminder that we’re not on vacation anymore.”

The Lady Puerto Rico Classic will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Feb. 12-14.