Disappointing spring finishes can’t dampen teamwork for the Drake women’s golf team. Drake’s 326.23 average score ranks eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference. Drake’s teamwork, however, ranks first in the MVC for sophomore Hadley Jennings.
“At the beginning of the season, we kind of started out, and it was each person for themselves, and though our scores haven’t shown it, it’s become more like we’re actually a team,” Jennings said. “We play like a team, we think like a team and we’ve grown a lot closer. Hopefully, it will pay off.”
The Bulldogs opened spring play on March 12-13 at the Jackrabbit Invitational in Primm, Nev., finishing 11th out of 15 teams.
Nine days later, Drake concluded the Monterey Bay Invitational in Monterey, Calif., finishing ninth out of 14 teams.
The Bulldogs fired season-low rounds at the Creighton Classic on April 16-17 in Omaha, Neb. Drake finished fourth out of 14 teams on day one before completing day two with a seventh-place finish.
Albeit gradual, the Bulldogs’ growth is promising for Jennings. En route to Drake’s growth, one saying inspired the sophomore.
“The famous quote is, ‘Golf is a game played between the six inches of your head between your two ears’ because it’s 90 percent mental and 10 percent fundamental,” Jennings said. “It’s a lot about what you’re thinking while you’re swinging.”
Mindful swinging is cornerstone for the Bulldogs entering the State Farm MVC Championship in Terre Haute, Ind., which started yesterday (April 22). Against MVC powerhouses like Missouri State, Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa, Drake’s focused play is key. Focused play isn’t reserved solely for Jennings, Drake’s leading scorer, though.
“I think we can really go far, and having that strong base and that strong leadership, we hope, will simmer down through the team, and everyone will start playing better,” Jennings said. “Just like Northern Iowa: they’re in our conference, and a couple girls started playing well, and the whole team started playing well, and those girls really showed some strong leadership, so we’re hoping to do that next year.”
Redshirt junior Chelsey Falk spearheads Drake’s leadership role, a position Jennings looks to take over.
“Chelsey (Falk) is already in a really good leadership position, and that will be something I’ll transfer into to get us to be strong leaders,” she said.
Strong leadership means strong friendship for Jennings and the Bulldogs.
“The best part about being a member of the team is such a unique opportunity because you’re with six other girls that share the same passion that you do for golf, that are here to get better, here to learn,” Jennings said. “You’re forced to get to know them. It grows your diversity. It grows you as a person.”