Women’s golf team prepares for Dale McNamara Invitational

Mark Schafer

With six returning starters and two incoming freshmen, the ISU women’s golf team is warming up for its first tournament of the 2011-2012 season.

After a successful season last year, the women’s golf team is hoping to continue the success it found last year, which resulted in the team earning a ranking as high as No. 15 for the season.

With that success, coupled with several returning players, the coaching staff is excited to get the season started.

“It’s so fun to have everyone back and get started at it again,” said assistant coach Pina Gentile. “It is always exciting to begin the new year, just to have everyone competing again [and] traveling again.”

The Dale McNamara Invitational will be held in Tulsa, Okla., and according to golfstatresults.com — where the results of the tournament will be posted —there are several other Big 12 schools that will be attending the same tournament.

Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Missouri are all Big 12 teams that will be attending the tournament. The Big 12 season doesn’t start until the spring semester, but it is never too early for teams to see how the competition has prepped over the summer.

For the Cyclones, they will want two of their stars from last season, senior Kristin Paulson and sophomore Prima Thammaraks, to continue their success from last year into this season.

The Cyclones want to prove themselves at the Dale McNamara tournament and use their experience to continue to have strong play.

Among the teams scheduled to play in Monday’s tournament is Arizona State, which is ranked No. 8 in the most recent Golf World/NGCA coaches poll.

The Cyclones have dropped out of rankings in the most recent poll, but had the most votes of any of the team sitting outside of it.

Usually when a season starts, a team must deal with one or two challenges. The Cyclones are confident the season ahead of them will not present too many challenges, Gentile said.

“I don’t necessarily feel like we have challenges coming into this year; we had a really good season last year,” Gentile said. “We are returning four of the students that competed almost week in and week out [last year].”

In addition to getting the season started, the team also wants to get started on making goals to progress through the season to their ultimate goal of making it to nationals, Gentile said.

“For us, we are coming off a really good year, so we need to continue to progress,” Gentile said. “I think it will be important to continue to set goals for ourselves to reach week in and week out.”

For many of the golfers, an early-season tournament is nothing new, other than a chance to play against other college teams and start to scout out how the competition might be for the Cyclones this season.

Over the summer, most of the golfers stayed in shape by participating in local and national tournaments, with varied success.

The Dale McNamara Invitational will be Monday through Wednesday.