Women's Golf Has High Hopes In 2010

Alabama Women's Golf Coach Mic Potter didn't really expect much sympathy when he bemoaned the unusually cold Alabama winter that has made it difficult for his team to practice its short game--the shots that require the most "feel."

One reason Potter didn't get much sympathy is that this weekend he and his Alabama team are leaving Tuscaloosa, where snow was in the ground this week, and boarding a flight to the Caribbean to begin play in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic at Rio Mar. The tournament is Sunday-Tuesday.

Potter also noted that "it's the same for every team" in the first tournament of the spring season. He also mentioned that Bama is defending champion, and also won the tournament in 2008.

Alabama can be expected to win tournaments this year. The Crimson Tide is ranked number one in the nation in both the Golf World Coaches Poll and the Golf Week Sagarin ratings.

"We played well in the fall, won a couple of tournaments," Potter said. "The way we putt is the way we score. Last fall our best ball-striking tournament was at Vanderbilt, but we finished sixth.

Potter said the "secret" to Alabama being perhaps the nation's best team is that the Crimson Tide has very good players. Bama has four players ranked in the nation's top 50, including number three Brooke Pancake, number 10 Camillia Lennarth, number 17 Jennifer Kirby, and number 48 Stephanie Meadow.

Potter said his problem is not getting his players to practice. "It's getting them to leave (the practice facility," he said. "They have a passion for the game."

The coach said his team's focus is not on the upcoming season. "It's on the next shot we have to hit," he said. "That means the first tee shot in Puerto Rico is the only shot that matters."

Potter said that although the Tide squad is more than five players, he expects the same five to be the lineup for every tournament. "Outside of the top five, we have none," he said. "Inside the top five, they are our best ever. They are self-motivating. They don't need competition to push them. Every time they go out they want to be their best, and every time they go out they have a chance to shoot their best scores."

Potter said the fall season gave Alabama confidence. That was particularly true at the NCAA Fall Preview at the Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, where the 2011 NCAA Championship Tournament will be played. As a team, Bama set the tournament record by 34 strokes.

Pancake said that Alabama "definitely" can win this year's national championship. "We don't rely on one or two players," she said. "If one of us isn't there, we can still win."

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