May 17th , 2012 11:19 am Leave a comment

NAIA Championship: Lady Buffs not as sharp on 2nd day

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GREENEVILLE — Day two was not as kind to the Milligan College women’s golf team in the NAIA National Championship Milligan shot six strokes higher than the day before with a 341, and as a result tallied a 26th place finish after two rounds at the Link Hills Country Club.

Photo by Matt Laws/Milligan Sports Information - The Lady Buffs’ Sabrina Smithson works with her putter.

Milligan’s chances of making the cut are probably out the window, and Lady Buffs head coach Tony Wallingford thought nerves got to his team.

Photo by Matt Laws/Milligan Sports Information - Milligan’s Kaitlyn Harville chips the ball onto the green.

“I thought on day two we let the pressure get to us a little bit,” Wallingford said. “We battled today, but it wasn’t our best. I thought we allowed a bad shot to affect the next shot and I thought we allowed a bad hole to affect the next hole and that can happen with a young team.”

Some of the pressure Milligan was under might have been due to playing with some of the cream of the crop in the tournament.

“We were playing with two outstanding teams,” Wallingford said.

Brittany Branker ended the day with four consecutive pars, but still shot 83. The most consistent golfer for Milligan has been Kaitlyn Harville as she followed up Tuesday’s 82 with an 84, but the round of the day was shot by Madison Smith — who finished with an 82. Sabrina Smithson tallied a 92 and Kayla Kametz scored a 94.

“Madison had a tough hole at No. 11 and I was real concerned that she was going to let it eat at her, but she got her head on straight and knocked it down and finished strong,” Wallingford said.

For Harville, she has been pleased with her play the first two days of the tournament.

“I’d certainly like to improve but I’ll take it,” she said. “We made it here, so we know we can do it — and that’s a confidence booster for being as young as a team as we are.”

Milligan was definitely a long shot to make the cut being ranked No. 39 in the country, but one reason the Lady Buffs have done so well might be the fact they played the NAIA qualifier at Link Hills.

That experience carried over and gave Milligan some familiarity.

“It gained us a little more course knowledge and we came out more confident being able to know what was out there,” Harville said.

Today with the cut looking out of reach, Milligan College just wants to leave this outstanding experience on a high note.

“Our goal is to come out and play our best and it will fall where it falls,” Harville said. “We’ll do our best regardless.”

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