Jayhawks open spring campaign at Moon Golf Invitational
MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Kansas women’s golf team is back in action for the spring season at the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Florida on Feb. 17-18. The two-day tournament is hosted by Louisville at Duran Golf Club.
The Jayhawks will face a field of 16 opponents; including, Alabama, Augusta, Campbell, Coastal Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Furman, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Louisville, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Old Dominion, Seminole State and UCF.
"It will be very important for the team to manage their expectations and to really focus on hitting shots that put us in position to score rather than trying to be perfect out there. Fortunately, we have been able to get out and play more this spring and that should help us feel more comfortable going into this first event. "Erin O'Neil, Head Coach
Kansas will feature a different lineup with junior Sera Tadokoro in the leadoff spot, followed by senior Xinyun (Melody) Yu. Sophomore Phisitkhwan (Pear) Pooratanaopa, sophomore Abby Glynn and freshman Ying-Ting Hsieh round out the lineup. Sophomore Lauren Heinlein will be competing as an individual.
Tadokoro is coming off of a very successful fall campaign in which she was the top finisher for Kansas in four of the five events, including winning the Louisville Cardinal Cup (Oct. 18-20) to capture the first collegiate victory of her career.
“Sera had a great fall season, especially with getting her first collegiate win in our last event” said O’Neil. “We are excited to see how the spring season goes for her. An important goal is to keep her expectations in check and to focus on executing playable shots rather than trying to be perfect throughout the spring. She’s hitting the ball well and her misses are small, so it will come down to how well she manages her mental game and short game.”
Pooratanaopa had the most successful season of her young career in the fall, where she finished inside the top-20 three times and once inside the top-10. She finished in a tie for sixth place at the Louisville Cardinal Cup when she shot a personal-best at-par 216.
“Pear has matured a lot this year as a player and a person and seems more confident in herself,” said O’Neil. “She finished strong at the end of the fall and we are excited to see how she continues to progress this spring. She has a great positive mentality on the course and a good short game. It usually comes down to her ball striking and hitting more fairways and greens in regulation. If she does that, then she will continue to have strong finishes like she did in the fall.”
Yu is making her season debut after not participating in any tournaments during the fall campaign.
Kansas will look to use the new lineup and the experience of its players to begin the spring season on a positive note.
“Anytime we head south it’s an adjustment to get used to playing on Bermuda grass,” said O’Neil. “We will need to take full advantage of our practice round to get as comfortable as we can with wedges, shots around the green and putting. Course management will also be critical to help us make as many pars as we can and to eliminate the big holes when we do get in trouble. Three of our five players competed here last year so they will be familiar with the lay out of the course which is always helpful. It will be important to trust our preparation and be alright with misses that are good enough to get the job done rather than expecting perfection. If we can do that then we will have a solid finish this week.”
The 72-par event is expected to start with a 7 am (CT) shotgun start on Monday, Feb. 17 where the teams will play 36 holes and will wrap up the final 18 holes with an 8 a.m. (CT) shotgun start on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Fans can follow along throughout the tournament on the KU women’s golf social channels and via GolfStat.