News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local Interest

April 24, 2012

Uphill Battle: ISU 23 strokes back of MVC leader No. Iowa

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State maintained sixth place after two rounds of the Missouri Valley Conference Golf Championships, but the Sycamores face a tough challenge to move into the top half of the league after today’s final round at the Country Club of Terre Haute.

ISU is tied with Wichita State at 633 strokes and 13 behind fifth-place Southern Illinois. The Salukis trail first-place Northern Iowa by just 10.

The Panthers “doubled” their one-shot lead after the tournament’s first 18 holes, but coach John Bermel’s team had a seven-shot lead near the midway point of the second round as the MVC squads battled strong, swirling winds.

“We didn’t finish very well, but that’s part of it. The ending holes aren’t very easy,” said Bermel, whose team is being led by Brittany Atterbury and Katie Tabbert. Atterbury was one-under par through 12 holes Monday, but she finished with a 76 on the par-72.

The Panthers’ fourth score was the 79 of Katie Tabbert.

“All four of our counting scores have all been very close. I told the kids all along we’ve got to have five kids that are playing well,” Bermel said.

ISU coach Greg Towne, on the other hand, watched as Emily Dixon and Gina Della Camera shot scores of 84 and Amanda Smith 82.

Christina Beyerl bounced back from a first-round score of 84 to post a 75.

“I think I went in today and I wasn’t as nervous,” Beyerl said. “Yesterday I think I expected too much of myself. When I didn’t succeed, I took it hard. Going into today … just go play it, just kind of focus a little more and got out of my own head and succeeded today.”

With some big drives and solid punting, Beyerl was as steady as almost any player on the course.

“To start the day, I just went out and made a lot of pars. I didn’t make anything worse than a bogey today so that was a plus,” she said.

Byerl had three birdie putts lip out. She finished with three straight pars on holes 7-9, a trio of holes in which only one player had a birdie all day.

“I really couldn’t get any birdie putts to fall. I was putting all my putts close so there’s nothing to be mad about. A par’s not bad, I can’t complain,” Beyerl said.

“She was discouraged yesterday. She hit it great today,” Towne said. “The whole team went out to the range last night after we played for about two hours. We got Christina’s swing in good shape, she just needed some adjusting.”

Towne thought his players had the opportunity to post lower numbers despite facing tough conditions.

“I’m most proud of the girls today for their composure. It was a very tough day out there. The wind and the greens were up to about 11 on the stimp [ratings] like a U.S. Open would be,” Towne said. “They were very composed. There’s a couple times where they could have whined about it a little and they didn’t so overall I’m pleased with how they did that. We still can play much better so I think that round [today] will be our chance to shine.”

Beyerl agrees, hoping the Sycamores can at least make a run at ranking in the top half of the league.

“As a team hopefully we come in and play well, improve a few strokes and catch a few teams in front of us,” Beyerl said. “You always want to win a championship, but with where we are now, we still have one more day so we can make up some strokes and improve on the leaderboard.”

ISU’s Amanda Smith rounded out the scoring with a second straight 82. Smith, who celebrated her 19th birthday Monday, has tallied a 41 in each nine holes of the tourney.

Della Camera and Dixon had tough days on the course’s shorter holes.

“Gina played the par-3s about 7-over or something and so did Emily so that was a struggle,” Towne said. “[Dixon] just had some really bad luck and a couple missed clubs.”

McCall Christopher posted a 79.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she shoots under par tomorrow. She’s swinging beautifully at it.”

ISU’s program, which began in 2006 and has a best MVC finish of third in 2010, is on the rise, said Towne, whose team is entirely underclassmen.

“The program’s improving, the girls are working hard at it,” Towne said. What they can glean from this is what it takes to contend for a conference championship. Their skill is good enough to win.”

ISU players will begin to tee off at 9:30 a.m. today.

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