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Women’s golf hopes to bounce back

The only thing that the women’s golf team did not want after their not-so-successful fall is bad weather during their three-month offseason. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they got. Muddy fairways and soppy greens were what they returned to after a rather unusual series of recent showers.

“River Walk in Mission Valley lays on a river bed. When it rains in San Diego, all that water accumulates in the area,” said sophomore Michelle Picca. “Once the water finally drained out, the grass wasn’t fully grown in and the course was full of dirt patches.”

Rain was yet another roadblock the golf team had to face this season. After not finishing higher than fourth throughout the fall in four tournaments, the team is optimistic going into the spring. First-year head coach, Lance Hancock, now has a half-season of experience under his belt and is still learning along the way.

“I came from a professional golf background where nothing else matters other than golf medals and ‘what you’ve done lately,’” Coach Hancock said. “These young student athletes were expecting a golf coach to give them spiritual guidance and to support them in their day-to-day life lessons. So, we had to make a commitment to trust each other and be patient. My main purpose went from being the most competitive golf team in the PacWest Conference to being the most loving, spiritual influence I could be to a group of intelligent, funny, lovely, Godly women.”

One of the most unique aspects of women’s golf is their schedule. After playing four tournaments in the fall, the team now looks ahead to five tournaments this spring before the PacWest Championships and then, ideally, the NCAA Championships. Everyone, including senior Rima Antous, knew what they needed to move past their struggles.

“We focused on our short game, probably 100 yards and in. This is where we had the most trouble,” Antous said. “We had a team meeting before break where we set goals. I think we were really trying to zone in on those areas of weakness. We knew we needed to prepare so that when we got to the spring we can move forward from there.”

After regathering themselves and creating a proper mind set, this new attitude appears to be gushing through each coach and athlete. Coach Hancock and his team knows that what they are learning not only benefits them now but in the future as well. With three seniors on the way out after this year, they know that their message must be clear and focused for the future.

“If I can pass along one piece of advice, [it] is that regardless of what you’re doing, scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins, performing brain surgery at a world-class hospital, or playing golf at Point Loma; you must develop a strong work ethic and appreciate that the rewards come from putting in the work,” Hancock said. “Eventually, experiencing the positive results that hard work produces becomes the real reward. Commit yourself to working hard, harder than your competition; and you’ll never question the results. The work is the prize because it builds your character for who you are and how you can be trusted by those who depend on you.”

The team will finish their only home tournament of the year, the PLNU Reach, this week and then look ahead to the Cal Baptist Women’s Invitational Feb. 20-21. A new confident outlook will hopefully prove to be what these women need to finish out a journey of a season.

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Andrew Eakes

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