Port St. Lucie, FL - The Rutgers women’s golf team, under the leadership of 19th-year head coach Maura Walters-Ballard, opens the spring season this weekend (March 16-17) at the Homewood Suites Invitational on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Village. Hosted by Siena, the eight-team event will also feature the Scarlet Knights, Seton Hall, Dartmouth, Albany, Boston University, Indianapolis and William Wood.
After a strong fall season, Waters-Ballard has high expectations for the event and the spring season as a whole. The competing five at Homewood will be freshman Kortnie Maxoutopoulis (Pleasanton, Calif.), junior Brittany Weddell (Buzzard’s Bay, Mass.), senior Lizzy Carl (Mendota Heights, Minn.), junior Karen Cash (Allendale, N.J.) and senior Elisa Mateer (Marmora, N.J.). Senior Lauren Heiba (Bridgewater, N.J.) will compete as an individual.
Maxoutopoulis will play in the first position for the Scarlet Knights. The rookie burst upon the scene in the fall, winning two of her initial three collegiate events and placing among the top five in four tournaments.
“Kortnie works so hard and she has such good focus that I think she is going to continue and even do better things in the spring,” said Waters-Ballard. “She is so strong mentally.”
The mild winter weather in the Northeast has also benefitted RU in its preparation for its spring campaign.
“We played four rounds before we got down here and normally we are not able to do that, so that worked out really well for us,” added Waters-Ballard. “We have been down here for spring break, so we have a lot of good practice under our belts and I feel we are ready to play.
“We’ve been working really hard on the mental game this winter. I think everyone staying in the present moment and remaining at an even keel is (critical). If we can do that, the score will take care of itself…I can see us making a move for No. 1 in this event. We just have to stay focused and committed.”
The Homewood Suites Invitational is the first of four tournaments the Scarlet Knights are slated to compete in this spring.
“I think this is the strongest women’s team I have coached during my tenure at Rutgers and that’s the result of increased resources, an influx of scholarship money and improved facilities,” said Waters-Ballard. “It goes hand-in-hand. Combine these things with the addition of another full-time coach, which has allowed me to focus my efforts on the women’s team, and the future is very bright for this program.”