Pacific West Conference foes may be facing Dixie State University at the wrong time.
After a season-best No. 5 finish at the Western New Mexico Invitational earlier this month, the DSU women’s golf team will participate in the PacWest Conference championship April 21-22. The team’s third-place finish in last year’s PacWest tournament, compounded with its late-season surge, has provided confidence heading into the championship, said head coach Rachel Harmon.
Harmon said a portion of the team’s preparation for the conference championship came from a well-rounded performance at the WNM Invitational. A near season-low score of 635 for DSU and three players shooting in the 70s highlighted obvious progression, she said.
“The last event … confirmed what we’ve known we’re capable of as (a) team in being able to post some great scores and peaking in our individual games together as a team at the same time,” said Hannah Folks, a junior communication major from St. George. “It’s a confidence booster for us at the end of this season, knowing that we can accomplish what we set out to do together at these tournaments.”
At the WNM Invitational, Harmon said the Red Storm emphasized golf’s oft-forgotten team aspect with each player contributing to the team’s larger goals.
And Folks said it helps that each player’s personal goals will ultimately align with the team’s collective aspirations heading into the PacWest tournament.
“By each of us individually setting personal goals based on what we’ve worked on and practiced, it equips each of us to better contribute to the team’s success for this conference tournament,” she said.
Although a solid finish at the WNM Invitational could spur the team’s future success, Shelby Madden, a sophomore criminology major from Iroquois Falls, Canada, said practice proceeding the conference championship matters most.
The Storm face a three-week stretch between their previous competition and the PacWest tournament, which allows for what Harmon called players “doing their homework on the course.”
Madden said weeks of practice have provided her with the confidence it takes to approach competition with the team’s ambitions in mind. The build-up to the conference championship also allowed her to analyze goals, she said.
Approaching the PacWest Conference championship, Harmon said players have created bonds to help them motivate each other during the long season, which stretches from September to April.
“Golf is unique; it’s days of competition, long travel times and long rounds,” she said. “The team has great chemistry and united goals of finishing this season right with a win at our conference tournament. So that united focus is helping fuel this team.”
With a strong performance at the conference championship, the Storm have a prime shot to set themselves up for an NCAA regional appearance next season, Harmon said.