USF junior Kelly Martin is expected to lead the team in the 54-hole Conference USA tournament this weekend in Hattiesburg, Miss. Martin’s experience in crucial tournaments will help out this year.
“I have competed in this tournament the last two years. I won my freshman year, and last year I was second individually, just one shot away from the lead,” Martin said.
That performance lifted the Bulls into a second-place finish, just two shots behind first place Memphis.
But this year, coach Susan Holt wants to win it all.
“Only 21 out of 80 teams in the conference make regionals,” she said. “But the winner of this tournament gets an automatic bid into regionals.”
Also expected to play well in the nine-team tournament and help lead the Bulls is junior Fany Schaeffer, who has experience in big tournaments.
Schaeffer is known for her aggressive style of play and her ability to get out of tough situations, said Holt.
Other golfers who qualified for the tournament are Megan Cushman, Katie Ruhe and Jill Crowe.
“I’m looking for Fany and Kelly to lead,” said Holt. “But any five of our players could step up and play a big role. We are beginning to get more contribution from our other players.”
The Bulls’ win will not come easy because of the tough conference competition. TCU has the best team, while Tulane, Memphis, USF and Louisville are all regarded as the top teams, said Martin.
The Bulls have the most experience against Tulane and Memphis, playing them five and three times respectively.
“We didn’t fare well against them. We’ve yet to play our best golf, and the weather was bad in both tournaments,” said Holt.
“Tulane has had an exceptionally good year, so the pressure is on them.”
But USF doesn’t know what to expect out of TCU. None of the other eight teams participating in this weekend’s event have played TCU since they are a Western team.
The remaining teams are Southern, so they don’t see TCU during the semester.
Also foreign to USF will be the Hattiesburg Country Club Course.
“We’ve never seen the course, so when we get there we will get in a couple of practice rounds chipping and putting,” said Holt.
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