WEST POINT — Mississippi experiences quite a mild winter compared to many other parts of the country.
However, winter very much came early on Tuesday morning, the final day of The Ally at Old Waverly Golf Club.
Temperatures at the start of the third and final round hovered around the high 30s and low 40s, and with quite a steady wind the entire round, the weather ended up playing a much bigger factor than originally anticipated.
Mississippi State women’s golf weathered the storm and elements but struggled on the day and in the tournament, placing third with an overall score of 22-over.
“When the weather flips like that, the only preparation you can do is mental preparation,” head coach Charlie Ewing said. “Really just embrace it, accept what it’s going to be and just go out there and fight.”
Shorter distances on shots and the inability to get spin on shots, especially on the green, were tough for all teams competing and made the final round that much more unique in its completion.
With State struggling on Day 1, it already found itself in a big hole behind Ole Miss and SMU, the eventual winners and second-place finishers of the event, respectively.
Shooting a combined 15-over in the first two rounds, the Bulldogs were battling all day to make up more than a dozen strokes over the Rebels and Mustangs.
“I look back and think there’s some things we could have done better leading up to the tournament,” Ewing said. “There’s some things to tighten up from an execution standpoint, but I think the tournament went well.”
The third-ranked Bulldogs saw their best golfer, Julia Lopez Ramirez, struggle on Tuesday, shooting 6-over in the third round.
She shot 6-over through the first nine but rebounded and played even par on the back nine, really settling down well and playing solid golf.
However, MSU had some great performances from seniors Abbey Daniel and Hannah Levi, shooting even par and 1-under, respectively.
Levi also holed out for her second eagle of the tournament on Tuesday, a great shot from just over 100 yards out on the 14th hole.
“I hit 3-wood off the tee and I had 107 in and blowing downwind a pretty good bit,” Levi said. “I just hit a solid 50-degree, and it landed just barely on the green and ended up hopping and rolling in.
“I know I play this golf course well. I’ve played it well all year in qualifying and practice, so the first two rounds, I think I’ve matured a lot being a fifth-year, so today for me was just about coming out here and bringing my best.”
Like the success of Levi toward the end of her round today, Daniel saw similar success over a five-hole stretch where she sunk three birdies, her best stretch of any round in the tournament.
Arguably the most impressive of the three came on the 11th hole, where she stuck one less than five feet from the hole on the green, an impressive iron shot from the fairway.
Daniel comfortably birdied No. 11 and then went back to back, birdieing the 12th as well.
“It was a tough day out there, so I think I just tried staying patient,” Daniel said. “I got a couple of putts to fall and rode the momentum.
“If you try and force birdies, you’re going to force mistakes.”
With The Ally now behind MSU, the Bulldogs will prepare for a tournament in much warmer weather: the Battle at the Beach next weekend in Los Cabos, Mexico.
It’s the final event of the fall schedule for State, who looks to ride the momentum of this fall into the spring schedule.
This being the final event, however, ending on a high is exactly what the Bulldogs are going to look to do.
“What I want to see is a team motivated to prepare the right way,” Ewing said. “Really good focus in practice and a real intensity about getting better in certain areas, and from there, it’s going out there, playing with freedom and trusting ourselves to perform well.”
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