When members of the women’s golf team go to bed the night before a tournament, they each follow a particular routine.
Freshman Sana Khan said she listens to either Drake or Rihanna, depending on how she feels; sophomore Angela Molaskey said she reads books.
Freshman Aislynn Merling said she has read Dr. Bob Rotella’s “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect” multiple times to help her prepare.
Merling said Chapter 11 is her favorite.
“The chapter itself is ‘Golf is Not a Perfect Game,’ and it’s more about keeping calm, keeping your focus and accepting a shot, because that’s my biggest issue,” Merling said. “I expect every shot to be good, and that helps me get mentally ready.”
Merling has yet to break any clubs, but said she becomes easily angered. She added, with a laugh, that her parents would “kill” her if she ruined a club.
“I used to get really angry, but within the past few years, because of the book, it just helped me keep a clear mind, helped me move on, take a deep breath and go up to the next shot with a clear mind,” Merling said.
Merling said she will read the book at least three more times this season on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in Orlando, Fla., as the Penguins mentally prepare for this season’s Horizon League Championship.
Merling said traveling to Florida first hit her during her legal environment class around 9 a.m. Friday. She looked over at Khan, and both girls began to smile.
“In one week, we’ll be on a flight to Orlando,” they said to each other.
Junior Sarah Heimlich, last week’s HL Player of the Week, said she is excited, too.
“I can’t wait to go to Orlando,” she said. “[I] played well last year, and [I’m] hoping to play better this year.”
Heimlich, who placed first with Merling at the Niagara Purple Eagles Invitational on April 10, finished second on the team at the HL Championship last year with a score of 244 (82-83-79).
She said one of her main focuses for this season’s tournament is leading the team, which consists of three freshmen, one sophomore and one junior.
“With college golf, everyone has played in highly competitive tournaments before, so everyone knows that pressure and stress of being in a tournament like that,” Heimlich said. “The Horizon
League Championship is definitely that feel — times five.”
Freshman Allison Mitzel said the freshmen are nervous but eager at the same time.
“All three of the freshmen are experienced and seasoned,” Mitzel said. “The nerves are going to be there, but I think we’ll be fine.
Golf’s a big mental sport. If you’re not mentally prepared, you can really screw up your game easily.”
Khan said Molaskey has been helping the team alongside Heimlich.
“We don’t know a lot of things, so, obviously, Sarah and Angela have helped us understand the surroundings and stuff like that,” Khan said.
To prepare for the conference tournament, Heimlich said she tries to keep the team even-tempered.
“If you stay even-tempered, keeping that mind a little quiet, it really helps,” Heimlich said.
The Penguins head into the tournament with three victories this season, opening it with a win at the YSU Invitational in early September. They also won the Robert Morris Holiday Inn Golf Classic, held in October, and the Niagara Purple Eagles Invitational on April 9 and 10.