Depth Perception: B-team player notches third-place finish for CMU
B-team player notches 3rd-place finish for CMU
Nicole Rooney was trying to have fun Tuesday at The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa, honest.
“I couldn’t stop shaking,” she laughed. “I’ve never been in this position before.”
The Colorado Mesa junior, playing for the Mavericks’ second team in CMU’s Spring Invitational, shot the round of her life on Monday, 1-over-par 73, and found herself second on the leader board. She followed that with a solid 77 and finished in a four-way tie for third place at 150.
“The first day I hit so many greens, but today I was all over. Just focus on putting, that’s where you’re going to score,” she said.
“I scrambled so well. The greens, the front was quick and the back was slow, so when we transitioned, our whole group was short on the first green (on the back nine). You adjust.
“I just kept a level head, (telling myself) you can do it.”
Needless to say, she’s no longer on the B team for next week’s RMAC championships at Ocotillo Golf Course in Chandler, Arizona.
“She’s a lot better golfer than she thinks she is, she really is,” Mesa coach Scott Hansen said. “If the confidence level ever matched her talent level she’d really be something. I hope she continues on this and this is just a start for her.
“I knew she’d be really nervous. She gets nervous if somebody is watching her hit, so for her to hold it together and shoot that score is impressive.”
Rooney’s play spurred the Mavs’ top team, which actually trailed the B team by one stroke Monday, to a second-place finish, shooting a 299, the second-best team round of the tournament, for a 608.
“We have a little depth,” Hansen said with a grin. “I did pick the A team with the thought, they were playing the best, but that just shows you what I’ve been facing all year.
“All I wanted is one or two to separate themselves. Nicole coming out of nowhere to shoot 73 was awesome. That round was a wake-up call for the other girls. We needed something like that. They all followed suit and we had a couple other 73s up there today.”
Cal State Monterey Bay finished five strokes ahead of CMU at 603, with Blake Haverty winning individual honors with a second-round 71 for a 2-over 146.
Hansen had to finalize his RMAC lineup on Tuesday, so he used the tournament as the team qualifier. Taylor Walters, who won the RMAC individual championship last season, will play in the No. 1 slot for the Mavericks, Rooney No. 2, Ashlyn Kirschner No. 3, Hannah More No. 4 and Naomi Yamada No. 5. He’s hoping that lineup continues to play well and challenges for the conference title.
“Everybody, the other coaches, are envious. They can’t believe we have so many good players,” Hansen said.
Kirschner, More and Yamada all tied for ninth at 153 — Yamada and Kirschner fired 73s on Tuesday — with Walters one stroke back after two rounds of 77.
“Confidence is way up, so that’s a big factor. This is kind of our qualifier for RMAC so most of us, that’s what our goal was,” More said. “That was the big thing for this tournament.”
With picture-perfect weather — the wind forecast for Tuesday held off while the golfers were on the course — players put up some good scores.
The Mavericks play the front nine at Redlands Mesa a couple of times a week, so that helps come tournament time.
“We’re comfortable with shots and knowing there is room up there,” Walters said. “It’s very much target golf, one shot at a time and not jumping to the next hole.”
Now comes the big week of preparation for the RMAC championships.
“I tried to feel the way I felt at RMAC (last spring) this tournament,” Walters said. “Even the last few tournaments I’ve felt a little more pressure, tense. Coming out today I only have two more tournaments left, so just enjoy it.
“I honestly had so much fun, and whatever happens, bad or good, just had to roll with the punches and make the best of it.
“It’s just golf. At the end of the day, I remind myself of that, the sun will come up tomorrow, I still have my family; everything’s good.”