published Sunday, December 12th, 2010

UTC women golfers get a break

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's golf team is in the midst of winter break.

It's a break from competition, and official practice hours are cut to eight per week, but there are plenty of other things to employ the time.

Just call these hours winter workouts. It's a better term for this time of year between UTC's successful fall season and a spring season full of expectations.

"I was pleased with our fall season," coach Colette Murray said. "And I'm excited about the spring."

Yet senior Emma de Groot snuck in some time for herself during finals week.

"I had to finish shopping for my family and study for finals, but I went out [Thursday] and hit some balls, for as long until I froze," de Groot said. "We're in the gym at least four times a week and then we work on the things we identified as our weaknesses during the fall season."

This past fall, the Mocs won the Lady Paladin Invitational for the eighth win in the program's 3 1/2-year history to close that session of the golf season.

"It was a good team-building kind of semester and everybody knows what part they play," de Groot said. "It took some time, but it's good that we've got it."

The recent workouts have more to do with conditioning and weight-lifting than putting and chipping -- although those skills are still practiced in chilling temperatures at the golf facility shared by the UTC golf programs and the First Tee of Chattanooga.

The intense workouts are brand new to freshman Jordan Britt who starred at GPS before transferring to Signal Mountain and winning medalist honors as well as the Class A/AA team championship a year ago. Basically, college golf was new to her.

"The fall season was everything I expected it to be, but there were some curveballs thrown in there," Britt said. "I loved every minute of it and I'm looking forward to the spring.

"A lot is expected and that took a minute to get used to."

Britt struggled in her first few college tournaments while undergoing a swing-change. Then she finished the season tied for 11th at the Landfall Tradition and 14th at the Lady Paladin Invitational.

"We made some changes and I thought it would take some time, but she came to terms with them and started kissing it," Murray said. "Then she finished the fall off in a really strong and positive way."

UTC's spring season will commence with the Kinderlou Forest Challenge on Feb. 25, and build to the Southern Conference championship April 16-19 in Hilton Head, S.C.

From there, the Mocs -- who are currently ranked No. 41 by GolfWeek -- could advance to the NCAA Regionals the perhaps the NCAA championship.

"We're looking forward to the spring," Murray said. "We should be competitive and fun to watch."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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