By Lane Fahey, Columnist
With the regular season over, the nationally ranked women’s golf team prepares for the future.
Placing third or higher in eight out of nine tournaments and with three overall wins, the Paladins, currently ranked number nine in the country, are focused on their game and not the national ranking.
“The national ranking is great, but we try not to focus on it too much because it can add some pressure,” said freshman Carly Burkhardt via email. “We continue to practice and prepare for tournaments like we always do, and we know that if we do this, the results and rankings will take care of themselves.”
The Paladins finished the regular season with a first place finish at the Brickyard Collegiate in Macon, Georgia April 10 through 11. Sophomore Haylee Harford tied for first place in the tournament, with a three under par. The other wins this season include the Central District Invitational and the Minnesota Invitational dating back to the fall season.
“Winning our first tournament of the year was a huge boost of confidence,” Burkhardt said.
Harford, who was the 2016 Southern Conference Women’s Golf Freshman of the Year, was named Co-player of the week for April 5 to 11.
“It’s more of an honor than anything, and it feels good to know my hard work is paying off. So I just look at that as motivation to keep going forward,” Harford said.
Currently two-time defending champions, the Paladins go into the Southern Conference Championship in Lexington, S.C. April 19 through 24, hoping to win a third championship in a row.
“Our team feels really well prepared for the conference tournament,” Burkhardt said. “If we just play like we have been playing all year, we feel good about what the outcome will be. We just need to go out and play like we know we can play.”
Furman will take on eight other teams in the SoCon tournament.
“We’re playing so well right now and we’re ranked a lot better than the rest of the teams, so ideally if we continue to do what we’re doing and play well we should come out on top,” Harford said.
If the Paladins win the SoCon tournament, they will play in the NCAA Regionals from May 8 to 10 and then the NCAA Championship from May 19 to 24.