OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 17, 2013) – In its first 1½ years of competition, Oklahoma Christian’s women’s golf team has accomplished much, including a runner-up finish at a national championship tournament. But there’s one thing missing.
Seven times – including three times last fall – OC has finished second in a tournament, but the Lady Eagles never have broken through for that elusive win. Coach Greg Lynn believes that will change at some point during the spring season, which will start Monday when the Lady Eagles tee off in the Lady Rattler Round-Up at The Dominion Country Club in San Antonio, Texas.
“We’re trying to get a win,” Lynn said. “All these tournaments are going to be tougher. We need to play better than we have in the past, but I’m happy with the team. They’ve all worked hard. We’re going to go out and compete again and hopefully we’ll get our first ‘W.’
“We just need to get hot and have all five girls go out and play well. It hasn’t happened yet but I think it will. It’s just a matter of time. These girls have too much talent and they work really hard. I have no complaints about my team.”
There’s plenty of reason for optimism surrounding the OC program. In sophomore Anna Arrese Cortadellas, the Lady Eagles have one of the finest players at any level of college golf, one who is capable of winning medalist honors in any event in which she plays.
She has won four individual tournament titles in 11 events and never finished lower than sixth in any tournament while playing for OC. Her stroke average of 74.1 last fall was the ninth-best in NCAA Division II.
“I expect Anna is going to play better this year,” Lynn said. “She didn’t have her best game last year. She had a new set of clubs. She’s a little bit better with them this year. I expect her to have a good year. I think she’s refocused. … She’s been working out like crazy, trying to get stronger.”
Lynn said OC’s other four players also have taken steps forward since the Lady Eagles finished second in the National Christian College Athletic Association Invitational in Panama City Beach, Fla., in October.
Junior Catherine Odgers stepped up her game last fall and peaked at the right time, finishing sixth at the NCCAA Invitational to join Arrese Cortadellas as an NCCAA All-America pick. Odgers, a strong ball striker, will start the season at the No. 2 lineup spot for the Lady Eagles.
Senior Sarah Harper, another good ball striker, struggled with her putting at times last fall but still posted a 77.0 stroke average, which ranked her tied for 67th among Division II players. She tied for 10th at the NCCAA tournament.
Another senior, Morgan Dockery, is hitting the ball straight again after driving issues caused her problems in the fall, Lynn said. That bodes well, as Dockery is a solid putter.
Freshman Audrey Meisch burst on the scene last fall to hold down the team’s No. 5 spot and showed flashes of brilliance, including a ninth-place finish at the NCCAA tournament.
“Audrey has been playing real well,” Lynn said. “She is not the fifth person on the team right now, but I’m putting her there because she is a freshman. It wouldn’t surprise me if, on the second day of tournaments, she’s not playing (at) five. She is a very competitive, good athlete.”
Newcomer India Matthews, who joined the program in January, will join freshman Emery Rakestraw and sophomore Alyssa Schneider as redshirts this season. Another sophomore, Courtney Stuever, left the program at the end of last semester.
Even without a spring championship tournament, the Lady Eagles’ schedule is appealing. After the trip to San Antonio will be a journey to southern California for the Glenn Ivy Intercollegiate, to be played at the prestigious Victoria Club in Riverside, a course that dates its history to 1903.
OC also will play in tournaments at the Wichita Falls (Texas) Country Club; Hardscrabble Country Club in Fort Smith, Ark. (which has hosted PGA Nationwide Tour events); and the Tierra Verde Golf Club in Arlington, Texas.
“We’re playing the five best courses our team has ever played, I think,” Lynn said. “The course in California is one of the oldest west of the Mississippi (River) and the clubhouse is like a palace. Every course we’re going to this season is top-notch.”