By Joe Klingbeil
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama women’s golf coach Mic Potter refuses to get caught up in expectations heading into a new season.
The Crimson Tide has three players ranked in the top 15 of the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, and enters the new year ranked near the top.
But Potter knows expectations don’t bring home championships.
“I really have none,” Potter said. “I know we have really good team and I’m afraid of putting limits on them so my expectations are for us to, as they always are, hit the first tee shot, hopefully it’s in the fairway, and we do that all around the golf course. With the talent we have, and we do that, we are going to have a great result.”
Last season, the Crimson Tide finished tied for 14th at the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship. It was not what the Crimson Tide envisioned as they entered play that weekend. Alabama is taking that experience and using it as fuel.
“I think we learned a lot about our games,” junior Lauren Stephenson said. “Especially mentally, just things we need to work on. Just throughout the year we have to focus on the process and it doesn’t really matter how many tournaments you win, it’s about how you finish.”
Stephenson, along with golfers Cheyenne Knight and Kristen Gillman, earned Women’s Golf Coaches All-America Honors at the end of last season, and have the accolades to boost expectations. But, like their coach and teammates, are focused on the prize.
“I think the expectation thing, like we have been really talented for the past few years and haven’t finished where we wanted to,”Knight said. “So this year we are really focusing on every day, and trusting the process and making sure we are doing everything we need to do.”
If expectations are not what this team has this year, a tight-knit bond is, and that is what motivates each golfer come out strong every day.
“I don’t think we need anything special to motivate us because we are all such motivated people already,” Gillman said. “I think we just carry that through every single day, we all motivate each other and ourselves to become the best player we can and the best team there is in the country.”
The Crimson Tide begins its season Friday at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tennessee.