Consistency remains key for NDSU women’s golf

The North Dakota State University women’s golf team spent the summer building up its game and is working towards playing more consistently in the upcoming season.

The team is set to open its 2022-23 fall season with the NDSU Fall Invitational at the Oxbow Country Club in Oxbow N.D., slated for September 6 and 7.

Last season, the Bison experienced a rollercoaster of a year with scores varying throughout the year. After playing a few amateur events with each other during the summer, the team is feeling a lot more confident heading into the new year.

“Obviously to compete and stay competitive is a part of why we play tournaments in the summer,” said Maddie Herzog, the lone senior. “But also knowing what you can work on, improve on and what you are doing well is also important. Building on that confidence heading into the season is huge.”

Herzog is entering her fifth season with the Herd. She was named the Summit League Player of the Week for the week of March 23 after posting a six-over-par 222 tying for 22nd at the Red Rocks Invitational at the Oakcreek Country Club in Sedona, Ariz.

NDSU senior golfer Maddie Herzog

With golf being a mentally tough and individual sport, maintaining a positive mindset is crucial to making sure you’re playing your best game.

“We kind of get really down on ourselves and it’s easy to do that when you are out there by yourself,” Herzog said.

Outside of competition, the off-season allowed the players to refine their game by working with “swing coaches” and learning new techniques.

NDSU junior golfer Leah Skaar | Photo Courtesy NDSU Athletics

Leah Skaar, a junior, said she worked on putting over the summer months and learned new methods that are transferable for the upcoming season.

“I built a routine that I can always practice now this season,” Skaar said. “I can go back to something and have it if I’m struggling again.”

Skaar earned herself second-team All-Summit League honors, last season. She had the best individual tournament score of the team, posting a five-over 221 tying for seventh at the AGT Golfweek Intercollegiate at the True Blue Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

NDSU head coach, Matt Johnson, said his team played “well” last season after bouncing back after having a tough 2020-21 short season.

“We just played well,” Johnson said. “The biggest takeaway is the potential to really step it up. We do have a lot of players that are quite good. We never had so many players shoot par or under as we did last year.”

The Bison had five golfers who posted scores at par or under par including Skaar, Herzog, Catherine Monty, Elise Hoven and Jo Barancyk.

Johnson said that the tournaments the team plays in are very competitive, if multiple players struggle in their rounds, it’s hard to be competitive.

“We ended up the middle of the pack in most of the events,” Johnson said. “If you keep it to just one player (with a bad finish) each round, then you can compete.”

He said he thinks his team is on track to have a promising season.

“I think it’s going to be a great year,” Johnson said. “It’s always been a good group of players and personalities that mesh well together. It’s trying to take the individual part out and try to be more focused on the team. I think our group is going to be good at that this year and that’ll have an impact.

The Bison will have most of its supporting cast returning but added two more players just in time for the start of the season.

Madi Hicks, from Victoria, Minn., and Cora Larson, from Alexandria, will both enter their first season with the team and are showing signs of becoming solid players for the team, Johnson said.

“I think they’re a good addition,” Herzog said. “I think it’ll be a lot of fun.”

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