Richards reflects on Women's Golf surge
May 15, 2012
With a dynamic Sunday charge – three Longhorns played their final nine holes a combined 5-under par – Texas Women’s Golf surged up the leaderboard to finish tied for second at the NCAA East Regional, and with that finish, the Longhorns advanced to their fourth NCAA Championships in five years under head coach Martha Richards.
The Longhorns used a similar final-round surge to also finish second at the Big 12 Championship in late April. UT now tees it up in the national championship tournament at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., on May 22-25.
Richards recently reflected on her team’s regional finish and looked ahead to the NCAA Championship with TexasSports.com
How did you feel about the team’s preparation and commitment to a strategy during regional play? I think the preparation, honestly unbeknownst to us, of playing Lawrence Country Club (for the Big 12 Championship) in those super high winds, really prepared us for this, because even when it blew 18-20 miles per hour it felt like a slight breeze compared to what we had just gotten through.
What has given your team the ability to finish so strong at the past two tournaments? They just kept playing. What they did better than I had seen them do is just play one shot at a time. While it sounds cliché, it really produces the best results. They are not getting too high about birdies or too low about bogies. This past week they did an even better job of eliminating the big number, and obviously we had trouble with that at Big 12, conditions related. I saw a lot of growth from at the Big 12s to this tournament. They just took care of business.
Is the team collectively maturing and able to control emotions on the golf course? That is what we have been talking about all year. I have told them all year that my job is to create an environment where they can do great work. Their job is to do great work. Then, when we go to the tournament, we trust the great work that we do. It has been about that all year, and I do feel like they are really starting to mature and come together. We have really had a blast the last two trips. This group has a really great energy about them together, and it has really been a lot of fun these last two events.
How did losing Madison Pressel to injury before the Big 12 Championship affect the team morale? They really wanted to rally around her and have a good rest of the spring for her and for the seniors, too. I think it certainly gives you a different team dynamic because you have different personalities on the road. They have done a really good job, I don’t know if it is because of a different sense of urgency or if they have settled in at the end of the spring where they have really gotten comfortable with who they are and what this team is about. With the number of people that have played in our lineup this year, it has made our team very interchangeable, which has been good, but now it is nice to have this set lineup for these last couple weeks. It has been a combination of things. They certainly want to play well for the seniors and for Madison, but also they have gotten comfortable with each other. I have seen a lot of growth in our team dynamics in the last two weeks.
You obviously coached at Vanderbilt for many years, and since coming to Texas, you still take the team to play tournaments at the Legends Club. What does familiarity do for the team at the national championship? I think playing that dual match there on April 14 was a big help. We are comfortable with the hotel, we know where the restaurants are. They know how much I like showing them Nashville, and we do not have to worry about directions, because we know how to get there. So all of the familiarity is really good. I think being able to play that practice round and tournament match against Vanderbilt, and we played in pretty high winds there too, is going to do nothing but help us. I think they are excited to get back there.