April 3, 2014
Junior Lauren Grogan earned the highest finish of her career with a tie for second place earlier this week at the Hoya Invitational (March 31-April 1) at the Four Streams Golf Course in Beallsville, Md. Grogan's 150 total helped U-M to a second-place team finish, marking back-to-back top-five finishes for the Maize and Blue for the first time this season. Talking about the course conditions that delayed the tournament earlier this week, the emotions of playing near the top of the leaderboard, and how the weather warming up in Michigan changes the team's preparation heading into the final regular-season event, Grogan took time to speak with MGoBlue.com for this week's In the Spotlight segment.
On how the course conditions and weather delay affect a player mentally, and how U-M prepared given the circumstances ... "Well, Sunday morning we found out that the course was closed and we were fortunate enough that Coach Mary (Mattson) had some knowledge of the course, being at Georgetown a few years ago, so coaches still wanted to get out there and try and walk the course, just so we could put a picture to any key tee shots when we stepped up there and it wasn't completely blind. Sunday night, mentally, our team had to make sure that we were saying to ourselves, "We're going to play tomorrow, just prepare yourself to play," so when you wake up in the morning you're not surprised when Coach (Jan Dowling) says it's on. We still played 18, we got out much later than anticipated, but it was a grind. The first day it was very, very windy and very wet, so we were thankful for the wind in a way, to help dry out the course. Then again, golf and wind obviously can cause some more calculations for club selections and everything, but everyone has those conditions. Our big mental approach that we talked about was hitting every shot with 100 percent confidence and controlling what you can control."
On the team's approach from day one to day two ... "[The course] dried out a little bit, which helped. We did walk the course on Sunday, but getting that first round in (on Monday) and knowing where to place your tee shots and where to place your second shots changes the comfort level. There was a little bit of a breeze on Tuesday, but compared to the first day it was nothing. Everyone knew on our team that we had to just go out and play our game and focus on the shot at hand and it'll all start falling. Be confident with every shot we hit and know that all the work we've done up to this point and preparation will pay off."
On how she'd assess her game at this point in the season ... "Over the winter I made a pretty big swing change, probably the biggest swing change I've made, with Coach's help and my swing coach back home. When they approached me about it, I was looking forward to it. It wasn't going to be an easy change, but I definitely thought it would be something that would help in the future in my game and so it's slowly starting to get comfortable. I'm trying to build off what I have been in these past couple of rounds in particular. It was strange, because I shot two 75s but they felt like completely different games. On Monday, my iron shots weren't as tight as I'd like them to be, but with the wind conditions I was happy to be putting. I had a lot of great lag puts and two-putts, and the second day I hit the ball really well and I missed three short birdie putts, which is okay. I made some great par putts when I needed to, so it was just crazy to think about how in golf you can shoot the same score and it can feel like two completely different feelings."
On the emotions of playing near the top of the leaderboard ... "I'm very happy how it turned out and everything, but I was bummed I bogeyed my last hole [Tuesday]. Overall, I can't be upset with how I played. There are things to build on and work off of for the future but I'm just really fortunate to be in contention like that. That feeling is something not everyone comes across every tournament. It's new and there are pressures that come with it. In my case, we talked about how in any pressure or competition situation, you go back to what's comfortable. I love that emotion and tense feeling you get; I love the pressure more than anything, but you go back to what's comfortable, so my swing got a little quick, reverting back to some old habits. It's still better than it was, but I'm still learning to deal with that pressure effectively and make sure that I handle it one shot at a time, controlling what you can control and not anything else."
On the weather warming up and how it changes the team's preparation for its final regular-season event ... "We only have a couple of days' turnaround. Thursday is an off day to rest up and get caught up on schoolwork and everything, but I think this opportunity to get out on grass is huge for us. We can work in some different shots and get that real feeling. The facility is great, no doubt about that, but this long winter has kind of given everyone cabin fever and we're ready to get out on grass, fade some shots and maybe even hit some balls to the short green area. I know the greens aren't ready for us to be on them, but once you get out there and hit some shots you can really visualize being on the course in that competitive atmosphere."
Previous Spotlight: Alyssa Shimel
Contact: Chad Shepard