Feb. 26, 2007
BUIES CREEK, N.C. -
The University of Wyoming Cowgirl golf team knew that the odds would be stacked against them in their first outing of the spring season today at the Fighting Camel Spring Classic in Buies Creek, N.C., but never did they imagine the circumstances under which they would play the first 18 holes.
On the way to the event, all five of the team's bags of clubs were left in Chicago after the airline the Cowgirls were traveling with deemed that there was not enough room on the plane to carry any additional luggage. As of Monday morning, the bags had still not been delivered, meaning that not only did Wyoming have to play their practice round on Sunday without their own clubs, but they would have to play the opening round of the event with mismatched sets of clubs borrowed from various sources, including opposing teams.
"In all of my golfing career I have never heard of anything like this happening," said Cowgirl head coach Josey Stender. "Golf is so unique in that everything a player carries in their bags is customized for their style of play, swing and height; from the clubs right down to gloves and balls. To have to play our first tournament of the spring, with a lack of outdoor practice because of weather in Laramie and then without our clubs is really a shock. I can't even think of something to compare this to, other than just back to the basics, like taking a club from someone else's bag when you were growing up and then learning to play with it."
Despite the circumstances, UW's results on the day were better than expected. The Cowgirls are 13th in the 15-school field, but within striking distance of several schools and only five shots out of tenth. Wyoming shot 333 (+45).
Bidding to win its home spring tournament for the tenth time in 15 tries, event host Campbell, ranked 37th nationally by Golfstat, shot 300 (+12) and leads second-place Illinois State by 15 strokes and third-place Wichita State by 17. Richmond (318) and Gardner-Webb (319) round out the top five.
"I cannot say how proud I am of my team," continued Stender. "They were mentally tough, persevered and really just appreciated the fact that they could play today. This team kept positive and looked at the situation the only way they could, as a learning experience. They did not use the circumstances as an excuse, even though their scores were not up to expectation. I want to thank Campbell University for all of their help through this ordeal. They helped us round up clubs to play with and went out of their way to assist us."
UW's best individual round came from junior Laura Mengelkamp who scored 79 (+7) and is tied for 15th place of 78 collegiate golfers. Freshman Sarah Fogerty was several strokes back at 82 (+10), tied for 38th.
Campbell's Mary Mattson was the lone individual in the field to shoot par or better on Monday with an even-par 72 on the 6012-yard Keith Hills Country Club No. 1 layout. She holds a one-stroke lead over teammate Emily Simpson, Claudine Foong of Gardner-Webb and Amber Ward from Colorado State heading into Tuesday's final round, which will begin with a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m.
The Cowgirls did get some good news after their round today when two of the five sets of clubs arrived at the hotel.
"We'll take those two bags of clubs and mix up our sets again tonight to see if we can come up with some better combinations," said Stender. "Even with some of our clubs we'll stick with the same game plan tomorrow and stay positive."