Ninth-ranked Women’s Golf heads to Puerto Rico to begin spring season

Paige Niewerth

The Crimson Tide women’s golf team, which is ranked No. 9 after the fall season, finished up its week of practices and is focused to head to Puerto Rico where they will start their spring season.

The Lady Puerto Rico Classic is a 54-hole event that will take place Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Trump International Golf Cub. Purdue University will host the event, which will feature 18 teams. The Crimson Tide will be traveling with five girls and the tournament score is based on the top four lowest scores for an overall team total score, as well as individual places.

Though this is the Tide’s first time to play since October, coach Mic Potter is interested to see the results and feels that scores will be good with the tropical weather conditions in which the team will compete.

“Obviously we want to get off to a good start and this is the place to do it,” Potter said. “[We have] shown more potential this year to move higher.”

Potter feels the team is comfortable and that they just need to take their games farther. Driving accuracy is one of the top strengths the team displays. Sophomore standout Brooke Pancake is currently ranked as a leading driver and when the Tide is in competition, many fairways aren’t missed.

“Everyone has to improve everyday,” Potter said. “[You] hit each shot the best you can.”

Many psychiatrists say that the best way to stay focused in golf, one of the most tedious sports, is to take each shot as it comes and to stay in the present. The mental aspect of the game is something else Potter emphasizes. When the team takes to the course, the golfers are focusing on each shot, as well as the bigger picture, including aspirations of the LPGA Tour.

Jennifer Kirby joined the Crimson Tide this year and said that the team strives to compete against each other to be the best team they can be.

“We have high expectations,” Jennifer Kirby said. “We believe we are the strongest team there.”

Junior Camilla Lennarth is another standout. Lennarth is less than two strokes away from holding the average season record at Alabama. She finished third, seventh, eighth and 11th as a top Alabama individual throughout the fall season. The Crimson Tide, which will host the SEC Championship at Tuscaloosa’s North River Yacht Club, is looking to make the most of is home advantage as it seeks an NCAA title.

The Crimson Tide not only has this season to look forward to, but the team recently signed three prospects to add to the roster. Hannah Collier, Jessica Schall and Stephanie Meadow will be joining the team in the fall.

Collier, a Birmingham native, won the Alabama State Championship in 2009 and holds the Alabama High School Athletics Association state scoring record.

Schall is from Lake Mary, Fla., and has won two state championship titles in her high school career. She also set the course record at Orange County National Course with rounds of 62 and 65.

Meadow joins the Tide from Jordanstown, Northern Ireland. She has nine individual titles on the International Junior Golf Tour and is ranked seventh in junior golf in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. Meadows left Europe at age 14 and attended Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head Island, S.C. With international experience and a European Girls Championship under her belt, Meadow is expected to be at the top right away and play at a high level for the Crimson Tide.

A team with a strong work ethic and an ideal new recruitment class, the Tide’s future is capable of proving they are the best team in the nation.