Women's golf capitalizes on par fives

The par 5 is the hole all golfers want to take advantage of. If golfer can get to the green or close to the green in two shots, then there is a great chance the golfer can grab a birdie. Getting that birdie involves a lot of different shots that need to go well. For the No. 7 Alabama women’s golf team, getting those shots has been crucial.

The Crimson Tide is traveling to Wilmington, North Carolina, for the Landfall Tradition. There are four par 5’s on the course there and Alabama hopes to capitalize on them. So far this season the averages say Alabama has, with it being below par on par 5’s at 4.92. Potter said that a lot of that success has come from driving distance. Senior Janie Jackson has the lowest average on the team with a 4.81. Jackson is known as one of the best at hitting the drive the farthest, but she won’t be traveling this weekend to Wilmington. Sophomore Lakareber Abe is right behind her with a 4.85 average. Abe finished tied for fourth place last year at the Landfall, and she has her own strategy when it comes to driving each tournament.

“In a practice round you can kind of look at it and see is it worth going for it or is it not,” Abe said. “I’ll just go out there and see how much yardage I want and see where the pin is that day, and that’s how I will decide how I will attack it.”

There is a risk involved with a par 5 tee shot. Players want to usually get good distance on the shot to set up an easier second, but a lot of times it is easy to lose accuracy when adding power. 

"There are definitely situations where you might want to bomb one out there, but for me if I’m not in the fairway, especially on certain holes where they rough grown up a lot,” junior Cammie Gray said. “When you get in the rough you pretty much have to lay up. It takes away that opportunity of going for it or getting closer to the green. So I would say being in the fairway is the most important part.”

The Dye Course at the Country Club of Landfall has beautiful fairways. Pete Dye, who is also known for designing TPC at Sawgrass among many others, designed the course in 1987. The Alabama women’s golf team has played fairly well on the course as well. Last year the team finished in second place, but the year before that the Crimson Tide won it.

“We have always done pretty well at Wilmington and we seem to like the course as a team, but I have a partial to it as a city. I think it’s a really pretty town with a lot to do. So I enjoy going there,” Potter said. “It’s a really good golf course. You have to hit all the shots, you have to hit all the clubs in your bag and it’s usually a good field.”

The field is large. Kentucky joins Alabama as the only other SEC team traveling there, but seven ACC schools along with four Big 10 schools will join the 18-team field. Alabama’s lineup will be without both seniors, as Junior Mia Landegren and sophomore Nicole Morales will make their season debuts, and will join Gray, Abe and freshman Cheyenne Knight.

“I’m really excited about this tournament. I’ve always loved the course. I think it really sets up well for our team in general,” Gray said.

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