Golf team comes back from 18-month hiatus

Cory Sparks, Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh women’s golf team opened the season finishing in third place out of six teams at the Carthage College Firewood Invitational on Saturday.

Held at the Red Tail Run Golf Course in Lakewood, Illinois on a rather windy morning, the UWO team competed in their first meet since the fall of 2019 with sophomore Megan Footit earning their best individual score with an 89 (+17) on 18 holes. Footit had the sixth lowest round of the meet.

“The winds were some of the strongest winds I’ve ever played golf in, which made course management very difficult to address the entire round,” junior Margherite Pettenuzzo said. “The greens were much faster than what we have been practicing on, so it was an adjustment for all of us.”

The postponement of the women’s golf season from fall to spring still came as a disappointment to UWO golfers, as they had spent their offseason preparing to excel during the fall season.

“In the fall when we found out our season was going to be postponed to the spring, I was so bummed,” Pettenuzzo said. “I was working really hard during the previous off season on my game and was excited to see what I was capable of in the fall. However, golf was one of the few fall sports that got their season postponed instead of canceled, which is something I am grateful for.”

Nonetheless, the women’s golf team got out on the course together and had some rust to shake off after an 18-month hiatus.

The Midwest winter months, which once again came with countless feet of snow and numerous sub-zero temperature days, made practicing for the postponed season a hefty obstacle for UWO to overcome.

However, thanks to golf simulators in accessible areas and the ability to travel as the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to lessen, the team was able to prepare in some form for their season.

“It is always somewhat difficult to stay in golf shape over the winter months, but something that myself and my teammates did was practice twice a week in the simulators so our bodies could stay familiar with our golf swings,” saud Pettenuzzo, who shot 93 (+21) on Saturday. “I was also fortunate enough to travel to Florida to get some rounds in.”

As the team heads into the next four meets before WIAC championship competition, it sees chemistry and understanding between players as a strong suit. Despite the many restrictions that have come with safety protocols regarding COVID-19, the golfers have made time to get to know one another so they can establish a greater sense of team identity.

“The team’s strengths this year are familiarity. We made an effort in the fall and over the winter months to stay in contact and meet up to practice,” Pettenuzzo said. “This allowed us to become comfortable with everyone so at our first meet we will know who we are playing for.”

The next meet that UWO will be competing in is the Marian University Invitational at the Whispering Springs Golf Club in Fond du Lac, and with plenty of golf ahead, UWO has a very specific goal to pursue.

“We have the ability to produce good scores so if we believe in ourselves, we could have the ability to go into tournaments and win them,” Pettenuzzo said. “I think that is a goal for everyone on my team this year – go out and win a tournament.”