Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Just as a football coach might identify areas of weakness in his team based on game-day performance, the same holds true for golfers.
Central Michigan golf coach Cheryl Stacy has seen clear evidence in her players' improvement through two tournaments in the fall season, and she is hoping for more strides this week when the Chippewas partake in the first KZoo Classic, hosted by Western Michigan, at The Moors Golf Club in Portage.
The 54-hole event begins Monday with two 18-hole rounds. The third and final round is scheduled for Tuesday. The course, one of Michigan's finest, will play to par 72 over 6,163 yards.
CMU will join the host Broncos along with Ball State, Bowling Green, Cleveland State, Davenport, Detroit, Eastern Michigan, Fort Wayne and Ohio in the field.
Last week, the Chippewas shot 940 on a tough Forest Akers East course at Michigan State in the Mary Fossum Invitational. It was a 47-shot improvement over their score in the 2015 Fossum.
In the fall-opening Ball State Cardinal Classic two weeks ago, the Chippewas set program 36-hole (627) and 54-hole (940) records, and they tied the program 18-hole mark with a 312 in the opening round.
Still, Stacy has said, there is plenty of room for improvement and the Chippewas have set their sights on continually lowering those totals.
In breaking it down statistically, she said, the Chippewas as a group have generally fared well out of the chute and on their way back in, playing par or slightly over-par golf for the first six or so holes of a given round. The same has held true for the final six.
Maintaining that pace, however, through the middle six holes has proved to be elusive.
She said in practice last week she divided the round into three six-hole parts, in effect training her student-athletes to re-boot after the sixth and 12th holes.
"It's a mental thing," Stacy said. "As soon as they get to the seventh hole, they're starting over, like it's a new round. The goal is to be 2-over, or better, for each six holes.
"We're trying to work on self image and to get used to (success). You've just got to believe it. You've got to get over that hump and get comfortable at a different level."