Apr 172008
 
Authors: Anica Wong

With one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen on the women’s golf team, the squad is a young bunch.

But that doesn’t stop them from believing that they can go into this weekend’s Mountain West Conference Championship, held in Albuquerque, N.M., and finish toward the front of the pack.

“As a team, we are kind of the underdog,” sophomore Kasey Claussen said. “We would like to go into Thursday and definitely post good scores that way we can surprise some teams.”

With tournament play opening today, CSU’s golfers will have to battle against some hot teams. The MWC boasts some of the best women’s golf teams in the nation; the top four teams in the conference are in the top 50 teams in the country. CSU is currently fifth out of seven teams, behind New Mexico, BYU, TCU and UNLV.

Not only would it be a high point of the season if the women were to take the championship, it’s the only way the Rams could secure a trip to the Mountain Region Tournament.

There is also some added pressure on the individual golfers, as two out of the five women on the squad are ranked in the top-10 in the conference.

Junior Stefanie Ferguson, who is the No. 1 golfer on CSU’s team, is ranked ninth, with a 75.93 stroke average. Claussen is listed in the 10th spot, with a 76.03 stroke average.

Ferguson and Claussen tied for eighth at their last time out at the BYU Dixie Classic on April 2, where the team had a season-high third place finish. Both women have the opportunity to make the all-conference team, which consists the top seven golfers in the conference.

“If they have a good week, they could certainly make that all-conference team,” CSU coach Angie Hopkins said. “Those two ladies are in contention.”

Although Ferguson has been the low-scorer on the team, she is battling a nagging sprained foot as well as a tendon problem in her ankle.

“It is hard to swing how I normally swing,” Ferguson said. “I have learned how to compensate.”

But these injuries have not deterred the lone junior on the team; she has a goal of being this weekend’s individual champion.

Hopkins would like to see her two top golfers, Ferguson and Claussen, continue to play solid golf and hopes that the rest of her team, who have also been playing well, will break out and have good performances this weekend.

“We are just going to focus on the process,” she said. “That is staying in the present and committing 100 percent to each shot.”

Although the season has been more about building and gaining experience because of all of the young players, the team still believes that no matter how young they are, they can go into the championship and come out successful.

“I think we are just peaking right now and playing more like a team,” Ferguson said. “I think we just need to have solid rounds of golf and not make silly mistakes on the course.”

Sports reporter Anica Wong can be reached at news@collegian.com

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