The Bears women’s golf team has plenty of expectations to live up to this season — just ask the various coaches of the Missouri Valley Conference. In the 2018 MVC Women’s Pre-Championship Poll, Missouri State is predicted to finish second behind Bradley University for the conference crown. But that doesn’t mean anything to head coach Kevin Kane.
“I don’t pay any attention to that stuff to be honest,” Kane said.
The Bears placed sixth in the Lady Maxwell, their first tournament of the season.
Troy, Texas State, Oral Roberts, and Stephen F. Austin were showcased in the tournament
“It’s always nice to play the big name schools; it definitely challenges you,” senior Ashley Childers said.
“We have a pretty young team that’s traveling right now,” senior Rachel Johnson said. “Getting those freshmen introduced to the big names early will put them in a pressure situation where they can adapt.”
Missouri State will host the Payne Stewart Memorial tournament at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield, Missouri, on Sept. 10-11. This will be the only event where the women’s golf team will be showcased at home.
It will also feature Murray State, Memphis, Wichita State, Creighton and Southern Illinois. The Payne Stewart Memorial will be open to the public so all students, fans and alumni will have a chance to see the Bears compete on their home course. Missouri State will play in the Johnie Imes Invitational hosted by Mizzou.
“Anytime you play against someone in-state you’re a little more fired up,” Kane said. “It is different in golf, though, because it’s not like you’re going head-to-head.”
The Bears will then travel to Chesterton, Indiana, for their Missouri Valley Conference Fall Preview tournament. The conference preview will be held on Oct. 15-16 and will give the Bears a chance to compete against conference opponents for the first time throughout their season.
“My freshman year we actually didn’t play a preview and I really wish we did,” Childers said. “The preview is definitely valuable. It’s basically like three extra practice rounds.”
The MVC Championships will be held during the spring semester. Even after the time off, the impeccable performance last season can still aid MSU when it comes down to clutch time.
“Golf is a day-by-day sport. One success doesn’t guarantee it in the future, but I do know it has inspired our freshman and it definitely inspires Rachel and I to end on a high note,” Childers said.
Johnson talked about the preparation for the conference championships and how senior leadership can help other young players looking for a spot.
“I think with our experience it helps the freshmen settle their nerves, but they’ve played in plenty of golf tournaments with high stakes. They’re all really good golfers,” Johnson said. “If you take their experience mixed with our little pep talks here and there, I think we can go a long way.”