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IU women’s golf looks for strong finish to fall season

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Then-sophomore Erin Harper, now a junior, putts during the first round of the IU Invitational at the IU Golf Course in April. Harper finished 34-over-par after three rounds at the NCAA Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Josh Eastern Buy Photos

The fall season for IU women’s golf has been one of repeated results.

Heading into the final tournament of the fall — the Ladies Fall Intercollegiate Invitational in John's Creek, Georgia — the Hoosiers have found themselves in either sixth or seventh place at all three tournaments to this point. 

This Friday, the team will compete at the Atlanta Athletic Club Highlands Course in John's Creek. This will be the first year of this event and the first time any of the Hoosiers will be playing on this course. 

“It’s kind of like going in blind,” junior Erin Harper said. “We’re going to take a lot of time in the practice round to figure out what we want to do on the course. Obviously we want to play well, but also be strategic on the course.”

Another component that will present a challenge to the 12-team field will be the weather. The first round of play Friday looks to have fair weather, but Saturday will present rain and Sunday calls for significantly cooler temperatures. 

“When we get there, we’ll adjust as the day goes,” Harper said. “We’ve all played junior golf in less than ideal conditions. We’ll just have to be mentally tough and be mentally prepared for what the weather throws at us.”

During the team's first week off since the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational, the team spent more time working on technique on the practice range and greens. As the tournament has approached, the golfers have spent more time going out and playing holes. 

Overall, however, the main emphasis for the Hoosiers has been getting caught up on the non-golf aspect of their schedules in order to have clear minds heading into play.

“These are all elite-level golfers, so they’re used to taking two or three weeks off in between events,” Coach Clint Wallman said. “They’re much better tournament players than they are in qualifying or regular play. There shouldn’t be any difference, I tell them that all the time, but when the flag goes up they tend to be much more focused and on top of stuff.”

With this being the final tournament of the fall season, the team will also look to have no lingering thoughts during the four-month break before the spring season.

“We’re just going down there with a specific purpose: putting the best version of ourselves out there every day,” Wallman said. “The key to that is playing with that level of urgency from the first shot. I think that would lead to no regrets, especially if we have a good finish that’ll snowball us forward.”

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