Apr 152010
Authors: Cris Tiller

Some say it’s not how you start, but how you finish. Thursday, the CSU women’s golf team had to take that to heart at the Mountain West Conference Championships.

All five of the girls began the day with a rough start, having to adjust to the course, especially the quick greens, at Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, Calif.

The two seniors on the team, Kasey Claussen and Natalie Stone, shot a 77 and 76, respectively, while the three underclassmen, Melissa Martin, Brianna Espinoza and Emily Roering, shot an 81, 77 and 76.

The real trouble began on the first few holes until the Rams were able to change their approach.

Head Coach Angie Hopkins said she was happy with how the day turned out, considering the disastrous start.

“I am extremely pleased,” Hopkins said. “We started out really bad. The greens were really fast.”

Black Horse may be the most challenging course the girls have ever played. Roering, a freshman, discovered this while on the first hole, shooting a triple bogey.

Even experienced players like Stone started slow shooting, a 43 on the first nine, but recovering nicely on the back nine with a 33.

On the back nine, I finally got my putter going,” Stone said. “That was key, especially out here.”

Not only did Stone find the answer for success, but Hopkins noticed that the other four were on the right path as well.

“Once they realized the greens were so fast, they adjusted very well to the conditions,” Hopkins said. “They all started playing a different game and did what it took to get there.”

While the Rams did make it out of the day in good shape, finishing second, Claussen said she did not feel satisfied with the way she played, ending the day with double bogeys on holes 17 and 18.

“I’m actually pretty disappointed,” Claussen said. “I was hitting the ball well, but my last two holes hurt me. I should have been in the lower 70’s.”

The greatest challenge of the tournament may lie in forgetting a slow first day and the Rams hope for much stronger final two days of competition.

“I’m just trying to let this round go,” Clausen said. “I don’t try to fix it because I know it will be different with the conditions and all, but I’m still confident with the three birdies I had today.”

Stone said the first round will simply make them stronger as a team throughout the rest of the tournament.

“I think it will benefit us, considering the greens were a lot faster today,” Stone said. “It played tough, and that will benefit us.”

No matter what happened Thursday, the Rams’ confidence to win the conference championship is strong as ever.

“Oh yeah, I do believe we can win (the championship), I really do,” Hopkins said. “We have a good group of girls that have the confidence to do it. If we can get some putts to drop, we’re in.”

Sports Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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