By George Schroeder | LTVN Executive Producer
Baylor women’s golf lost some star talent since over the offseason, but the refreshed roster may have what it takes to succeed as they head to Norman, Okla., for the Sooner Fall Classic Saturday.
“We have a lot of new faces in the lineup. I think that’s kind of the biggest thing that we have going right now,” head coach Jay Goble said.
One of the Bears’ top players, Gurleen Kaur, transitioned into the professional field and is no longer with the team. Goble said although Kaur will be hard to replace, the lineup has a lot of potential after some promising qualifying scores in the 60s. He said his golfers are up to the task.
“Do these players have the experience that Gurleen has? No,” Goble said. “I think that these players currently all have the same amount of talent that Gurleen had. I do believe that moving forward, this team will continue to get better and better.”
Two Bears will be making their debut in the starting lineup Saturday in freshman Silje Ohma and sophomore transfer Sera Hasegawa. A more experienced golfer, junior Rosie Belsham, is also starting, and Goble said she keeps improving.
“She is probably one of the most competitive people that I’ve ever met, especially on a golf course,” Goble said. “She’s earned the number one spot on our team for next week, which is really exciting.”
Even in the top spot, Belsham said with golfers like Kaur and Addie Baggarly hitting, the team had a sort of buffer. But now, there’s less room for error.
“It meant that you could, not ‘mess up,’ but you had a few more shots to play with,” Belsham said. “Maybe there could be a high score every round, that we might have to count, but I think come springtime and postseason, we could be really quite good.”
It’s not just experience hitting the ball Belsham said will aid the team. She feels more prepared for this season after last year, which she considered a huge learning curve — specifically, learning to move forward, not letting the results hold you back.
“The biggest thing was managing emotions,” Belsham said. “That was the only thing that kind of kept me going to the end of the semester, and I think I can use that to help the newbies a lot.”
Managing emotions is exactly what the Bears will need to do in order to take on the Big 12, which Goble said was one of the most competitive golf conference in the country. To compete at that high level, Goble said it may take time, but his players are prepared.
“It only comes with you showing up, feeling the butterflies in your stomach and just finding a way to shoot a good score,” Goble said. “I really believe we have the talent and the team to do that.”
Competition within the team may also help the Bears to improve. The goal is for iron to sharpen iron, and Belsham said she uses her competitive nature to push the team to improve.
“I’m sure I’ve annoyed a few people on the team with my extra competitiveness sometimes, but no, I don’t think it negatively affects the team at all,” Belsham said. “I think it’s good because you can take from it what you want.”
Goble said if what he has seen in practice can translate to tournament scores, it will bode well for the season.
“We’re going to do a great job of trying to stay in the present, and we’re going to do a good job when we get back to Waco re-evaluating,” Goble said. “We’re going to continue that process all the way through the National Championship at the end of May.”
The Bears travel up to Norman, Okla., Friday to compete in the Sooner Fall Classic on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. For more information on the starting line-up and updated schedule results, click here.