The Daily Gamecock

Women’s golf team to compete in SEC tournament this weekend

	<p>Freshman Sarah Schmelzel has led the women’s golf team in scoring the past two tournaments. The Gamecocks will play in the <span class="caps">SEC</span> tournament in Alabama this weekend.</p>
Freshman Sarah Schmelzel has led the women’s golf team in scoring the past two tournaments. The Gamecocks will play in the SEC tournament in Alabama this weekend.

Harris: Schmelzel leads team with consistency

After being on campus for less than a year, Sarah Schmelzel has come into her own as a collegiate golfer. The freshman has led the women’s golf team in scoring in the past two tournaments.

“She has been our leader on the golf course,” coach Kalen Harris said. “She is fun to coach, and she is fun to watch. We’re really proud of her.”

Last week at the ASU Ping Invitational, Schmelzel tied for 27th place in a tournament which featured several nationally ranked teams such as Alabama, Southern California, Texas A&M and Duke. Earlier this season, she finished with the second lowest 54-hole total of any Gamecock freshman.

Schmelzel will look to lead USC when it faces off against six ranked teams in Birmingham, Ala. this weekend in the SEC tournament.

Although Harris noted that Schmelzel’s mechanics were strong, she said her consistency is her best attribute as a golfer.

“[She] doesn’t make many mistakes,” Harris said. “She has all strengths in her game and no weaknesses; that’s what makes her so good.

“When I recruited her, I knew she was something special. She continues to step up for us, and she has learned a lot.”

Schmelzel said that the encouragement and the support of her coaches have been pivotal to her success thus far.

“My coaches have been … making sure that I’m focusing on the right things and not overthinking too many things,” she said.

Schmelzel added that the coaches have also encouraged everyone to exhibit positive attitudes both on and off the course. She called the coaches a constant source of “positive energy.”

The freshman also emphasized the value of the team’s positive chemistry, saying the team is “like family.”

As a player, Schmelzel feels that her ball-striking skills and her short game are her strengths. Considering the quality of competition in the conference, Schemelzel wants to focus on what she does best. Although this will be the freshman’s first SEC championship, Schemlzel explained that she is looking to approach the tournament like any of the others.

The Gamecocks will look to lean on the newcomer heading into to postseason. In order to compete, Harris said the team needs to build off its recent momentum.

“We’ve had a lot of very steady play, and that is what we need heading into the postseason,” she said. “We just need to continue that this week at the SEC championship.”

Schmelzel said the team feels “really good” going into the tournament.

“I think we’re all just really excited,” Schmelzel said. “We’ve been making a lot of progress this semester and this season, especially in our last two tournaments.”

Both coach and player emphasized the importance of staying patient and having a “sharp” performance in the short game.

“We know that we’ve been working really hard and that good things are starting to happen to us,” Schmelzel said. “All those things that we have been working on are coming together at the same time.”

Although the Gamecocks finished in sixth place at last year’s conference championship, Harris said the team will be competing to win.

“We’re not here to finish anywhere but first,” Harris said.


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