VIDEO: Suzanne Strudwick Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Just days removed from its season opener at the UINDY Invitational, No. 25 Carson-Newman now sets its sights on a short trip to nearby Tazewell, Tenn. for the State Farm Intercollegiate/South Atlantic Conference Championship Preview this Monday and Tuesday at the Woodlake Golf Club.
The Eagles are looking to bounce-back from a ninth-place finish at Indianapolis last week. In that event, they finished behind some of the top nationally ranked teams in the Women's Golf Coaches Association preseason poll. Through the first round, they were ahead of the top nationally-ranked teams including No. 1 Barry and No. 11 Grand Valley State. By the end of Tuesday, C-N had finished just nine shots back of Grand Valley State.
"We came out of the gate really strong and so that shows us our potential," Carson-Newman coach Suzanne Strudwick said. "The rest of the tournament was conditioning, mental toughness, so it wasn't actually the physical playing golf that was the problem. It was the 36 holes [on the first day] the heat and the general mental toughness.
"I think, you know, that certainly is one of the aspects that top teams possess is that little stronger mentally and so that's where we've got to improve."
This week, Strudwick's group heads back into regional and conference play against an eight-team field that includes host Lincoln Memorial, Queens, Newberry, Anderson and Coker. The Eagles are one of just three teams in the WGCA poll represented with No. 24 Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne, who was receiving votes, also competing. Christian Brothers will be the only out of conference team in attendance.
"I think playing against those top 15 teams, you know, it does [change the playing mentality]," Strudwick said. "What I saw was maybe they tried a little too hard to prove themselves and so this week, I think we've already done that. We know we are one of the top three teams in the conference so it's just who plays well on the day."
The preview will be the first proper SAC Championship preview that C-N has played in since the fall of 2015. That season, the Eagles took third in the preview before placing second at the championship tournament that spring.
Maeve Cummins (Waringstown, Northern Ireland) will lead the charge for the Eagles this week after tying for 18th at the UINDY Invitational. She was 10-over through the three rounds of play, her lowest score coming in the opening round when she fired a 72, the lowest round score of any Eagle there.
This event will give the sophomore a preview of what the field will be like as she defends her SAC Top Medalist crown at Woodlake in April.
Reagan Kinnie (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) moves into the second-seed for C-N following a 17-over showing in the season opener. The senior tied for 32nd in the previous event with the second-lowest round score among the Eagles also coming in the first round in the form of a 74.
Rounding out the starting lineup for the Orange and Blue is freshman Ellie Haughton (Lincolnshire, England), making her debut at the No. 5.
Joining Carson-Newman as individuals in the field are Matilda Frövenholt (Öjersjö, Sweden) and Elly Carlson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Frövenholt played at UINDY as the No. 4 for the Eagles, landing in a tie for 53rd at 26-over. As for Carlson, she will be making her 2019 debut at the event. She played in two events last year with an 80.0 scoring average.
The 36-hole tournament begins Monday morning. The folks at LMU will provide live scoring throughout both rounds via BirdieFire. Recaps and results will follow both days of action.