Lamar University Press Logo

Women’s golf swings into SLC championships

Madilyn Smith, left, Laura Pasalodos-Barcelo and Brooke Duzan practice their golf swing at the Beaumont Country Club, March 29. UP photo by Vy Nguyen

Madilyn Smith, left, Laura Pasalodos-Barcelo and

Brooke Duzan practice their golf swing at the Beaumont Country Club, March 29. UP photo by Vy Nguyen

The Lady Cardinal golf team is looking to build on its momentum as they prepare for the Southland Conference championship, set for April 16-17, in High Meadow Ranch Golf Club in Magnolia.

The team won its first tournament of the season at the Babs Steffens Invitational, hosted by Stetson University, March 25, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“We seemed to be steadily climbing all season and progressing, and I think that we’ve got a lot of positive momentum behind us right now,” head coach Jessica Steward said. “We keep improving every week and every month, as a team and also individuals.”

Steward said the team improved a lot since their first US intercollegiate tournament in Alabama in September, where they finished third.

“We’ve gotten off to an OK start, but we followed that up right away with a second-place finish at the Sam Houston tournament,” she said. “That tournament was actually at the course that we’re having our conference championship in a couple of weeks. To play well on that course was really good confidence booster, and it kind of propelled us forward.”

The Southland Conference Championships is the most important tournament of the year, Steward said.

“The players put in a lot of work all year on their swings and the actual mechanics, and, now, we’re transitioning to making sure when we go to this last tournament we’re able to perform,” she said.

Elodie Chapelet, Souraide, France junior, said the team has a really good chance to win conference.

“I think the team is ready since we’ve been practicing and doing everything we’re supposed to,” she said. “Everybody is focused at playing their game.”

Steward said the biggest challenge this season has been the tough Southland Conference competition.

“Within our conference, there are three teams that are within one stroke of each other, and that’s us, Sam Houston and Houston Baptist,” she said. “Then we have two teams right behind us, Central Arkansas and Corpus Christi, that are also having a really good year.”

The plan is making sure that the players are performing to the best of their abilities, Steward said.

“In golf, all of it is mental,” she said. “So, yes, you can work on your physical mechanics as much as you want to, but when you get on the golf course under competition and pressured environment, it’s a whole different thing to be able to perform.”

Chapelet said the key is to balance school work and practice.

“(I’m) always working ahead on my homework when I have a little bit of free time, and not waiting at the last minute is really important for school and for golf,” she said. “So, when I come to the golf course to practice, I have my mind free of school and just focus on golf.”

Steward said Sam Houston and Houston Baptist are the biggest competition the team faces in the conference tournament.

“Sam Houston has two senior players that are really good, and, on any given day, they could both shoot under par, and that’s tough to compete against,” she said. “On the other hand, Houston Baptist has a solid group of four players, who, when they all play well at the same time, they can put together a low team score, and that kind of jumps them ahead of everybody else.”

Steward said the coaching staff worked hard to keep the players motivated in the spring.

“We’ve balanced that by giving them time off to relax and rest, and also working hard at practices,” she said. “Looking back at the last two years, that was something I knew that we needed to address, and I think we’ve done a good job with that so far.

“Our year is really long, because we compete starting September to October and February to April. We don’t really have an off season. You look at other sports like soccer, where they compete August, September and October, and then they’re done for the whole year.”

Most players are self-motivated, and some are motivated by winning and playing well, Steward said.

“We usually set a goal every tournament day, and if we accomplish it, we get ice cream or meals at Texas Roadhouse or the Cheesecake Factory,” she said. “Ice cream is a good motivator, but I want them to be motivated by having pride in their team. Having them help and motivate each other is a powerful thing, as well.”

Chapelet said determination to win and moving on to post-season after the conference, as well as playing alongside teammates, motivates her. 

“Every day, seeing my teammates practicing so much and getting better, and to also see that our work has paid off during tournaments, is nice,” she said.

  Steward said the plan for the rest of the season is being in a good place mentally and have the players walk away from the golf course every practice being proud of what they did.

“It doesn’t mean that they shot the lowest score that they could, it just means that they are proud of their effort and attitude,” she said. “I really believe that if we can accomplish that, then we can accomplish our other goals of winning the conference and moving on to post-season.”

The Lady Cardinals were in action this week at the Cardinal Challenge, at the Beaumont Country Club. Results were unavailable at press time.

For more information, visit, or contact   

Category: Sports