Falling leaves and snow flakes signal the end of golf season, a fact the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point girls golf team knows very well.
The team concluded its season with a sixth-place finish at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, which was highlighted with a seventh-place finish by junior golfer Tiffany Boak. Boak earned her second, team All Conference honors in the WIAC after coming off a successful sophomore campaign, although she faced some different challenges coming into this season.
“This was my first year as a captain, and we had five new players, so I wanted to make sure that everybody got along and had a good time,” Boak said.
Not only was the leadership role a change for Boak, but she battled an injury over the summer.
“I’m still coming off this shoulder injury from this summer, but I got a lot of help from our athletic trainers to allow me to compete and achieve my goal of placing at conference,” Boak said. “Now I am going to continue to work with our trainers to try to prevent my shoulder from flaring up in the future.”
UWSP competed in five events this season, which is fewer matches than other sports.
“To be successful in the fall season, the girls have had to have practiced and competed throughout the summer, so that when we get to fall, we are just working on some mental approach things and trying to avoid injuries, which are more common than you think in golf,” said coach Rory Suomi. “From around February to August, if we can get tournament experience and consistent practice from our top five, it normally equals positive results.”
Suomi said he has a very brief and simple strategy to make sure his team is as well-prepared as possible on match day.
“As a team, I try to just give them tips on how to play the upcoming course, and individually I pick out one or two things that they should focus on so that they can self-correct any issues that may pop up. The suggestions vary for each player,” Suomi said.
UWSP did not have any first-place finishes, but Suomi said that does not mean the team is not successful.
“We had great team chemistry. Four out of our top five golfers had never played at the collegiate level, so I just stressed improving on course management and minimizing mistakes on holes that usually lead to high scores, but it comes back to continuing to practice and compete going into next spring through the summer,” Suomi said.