Andrew Nevins | Echo
The Taylor women's golf team will close out its season at the NAIA National Tournament in May.
The tournament will tee off on May 14 at the Lincoln Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City.
The Trojans won their third consecutive Crossroads League title on April 23 after another stellar season of golf. The team is also appearing in its third consecutive National Tournament.
The women's golf program got its start in 2012, with current head coach Cam Andry taking over in 2016. Since then, the team has been to Nationals in 2017, 2018 and now 2019.
Junior Annie Stimmel said the team's success has just come on in the past three seasons, as the program itself is one of Taylor's newest.
"These past couple of years, actually competing for a national title, after kind of just coming out of nowhere, it's pretty exciting," Stimmel said.
Playing at Lincoln Park will be a new experience for the team, as it's the first time they have played in a tournament held there.
Playing in a new location adds a whole new dynamic to the game and can sometimes present struggles. However, the team isn't too concerned about what the course will throw at them.
Stimmel said that the team will play a practice round to see where good landing spots are, where to aim, and what dangers to avoid.
Sophomore Nicole Jung added that playing a practice round helps the team map out a bit of a strategy for the tournament.
"Just figuring out where not to hit, or which holes are the birdie holes that we have to take advantage of, or . . . identifying like, a bogey's ok on this hole, just move on," Jung said.
The team will be looking to improve upon last season's fifth place finish at Nationals. The Trojans were making a run at the top of the leaderboard before the last day of the tournament got rained out.
The team knows how it is going to have to play if it wants to leave last year's disappointing ending in the past.
"We should trust our game throughout the entire round," Jung said. "Start with a mindset and with a goal and just finishing strong until your last putt, not giving up . . . I think that's what makes good golf."
The Trojans have been playing great all season and have rolled to five straight tournament wins in April. However, Nationals presents a whole different level of competition.
The intimidation factor is certainly present, but the team knows that golf is a mental game, and the best way to win is to stay focused.
"It can be intimidating to play with people of that caliber," Stimmel said. "There's almost like a pressure of 'oh my gosh I have to play as well as them' but you can't think that way you have to just come with your own game."