Golf plays through rainy conditions, finishes ninth

In rainy conditions and on a tough course in their first event of the year, the Oakland University women’s golf team placed ninth in the Redbird Invitational at Welbring Golf Club in Normal, Ill., shooting a final score of 951.

“This course was unique in that there was a lot of runoffs off the green, shortly mowed areas and they had the pins tucked,” Russ Cunningham, first year head coach said. “If you aired on the short side you had a very difficult up-and-down and so that gave us an idea of what we need to work on, but we were within shouting distance of the lead (in the first round) and it’s a quality field.”

Junior Alanna Gerber, who shot a career-low of 72 in the first round, was only one stroke out of the lead and helped put OU only three stokes out of second place in the first round before the rain came.

“(Gerber’s) bad rounds are going to be high 70’s and that’s nice because that’s what you need,” Cunningham said. “A couple players get hot each round and a couple shoot well enough to just hang in there, we can be competitive in pretty much any event.”

OU took advantage of the rain delay talking strategy and studying the course, according to Cunningham.

“Considering we’ve never seen the golf course, our opening round was pretty good,” he said. “The rain came in and washed us off the course so we got to take a look at it, but without getting to play it, that cost us a little bit and then it was still wet out there and it played long and the course was set up tough.”

OU struggled in the second round, shooting a combined 320. Gerber and Liz Ecker lead the team both shooting 78, but OU began to fall in the rankings.

“Fatigue set in and a long, wet golf course takes its toll,” Cunningham said. “So that’s why I think the last two rounds weren’t as crisp.”

Gerber shot a 77 to lead OU in the final round and she finished tied for ninth place in the tournament with a score of 227, but the team finished with a final round score of 323 placing them ninth.

“Not having a feel for the course and the rain coming in, it probably didn’t give us the comfort level that we needed to have in our plan,” Cunningham said, “but overall we did pretty well.”

This being the first event of the season, Cunningham said the team has not yet implemented many strategies into place on how they want to plan their way around the golf courses.

“Were going to continue to work on course management, the short game and each player raising their level of expectation throughout the year,” Cunningham said. “Controlling what we have control over, that’s the key.”

The women’s golf team will compete in the Mary Fossum Invitational on Sept. 17-18 at Forest Akers West Golf Course at Michigan State University.