As she prepares for her second season as Loyola women’s golf head coach, Carly Werwie said she’s more focused on helping improve scores instead of learning each golfer’s playing style. But she has an added challenge this time around: replacing Loyola’s lowest scorer.
Elayna Bowser graduated in May, taking her career 77.2 stroke average with her. Bowser, a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) selection, was the only Rambler to average less than 80 strokes per round last year.
But Loyola returns four golfers from its five-player lineup last year, and Werwie pointed to the MVC Championship when all qualifying scores — meaning the lowest four scores out of the five golfers — were under 80 through the first two rounds, which put the Ramblers 10 shots out of first place. Werwie said that was when she knew her team would be fine without Bowser at the top.
“We were in fourth within I think 10 shots of first … and I think ending that way helped us to say, ‘Oh, we are totally capable of doing that,’” Werwie said. “[Bowser] actually didn’t play as well during some of those days, and I think that’s where we got to see, ‘OK, we can do this.’ We are a multifunctional team where everyone can really contribute and I think we’ll be really good this year.”
One golfer Werwie said could step up is Morgan Brown, the lone senior on this year’s squad. Brown has a 79.9 stroke average in her three years at Loyola, but last year’s 82.4 strokes per round ranked her fifth on the eight-player roster.
“I’ve noticed over the years [short game is] what makes or breaks me at every tournament.”
— Morgan Brown, senior golfer
In addition to taking on a leadership role, Brown said she still wants to focus on aspects of her own game such as her mental game and her “short game,” which is chipping and putting around the green.
“I’ve noticed over the years [short game is] what makes or breaks me at every tournament,” Brown said. “I’d say throughout last year, I improved my mental game significantly, so I don’t want to let that fall back … because that’ll keep me mentally in the game when I have one bad hole or one bad shot and then I can get it back on another one.”
Sophomore Jenny Myslinski ranked second on the roster with an 80.8 stroke average last season. Now in her second year at Loyola, Myslinski said she’s adjusted to college golf and, while crediting Werwie for helping her settle in, added she’s ready to help pick up the slack.
“I think it was a lot to handle at first, especially fall season, but after the first week, I think it was a little better and I was getting used to [college golf],” Myslinski said. “Coach [Werwie] helped me so much. I learned so much about my game and going into summer, I was so confident and I’m honestly at a point in my game where I’ve been the most comfortable.”
Loyola also has two newcomers on its roster this year in first-years Caroline Dayton and Maggie Micetich. Unlike team sports such as basketball or volleyball, golf doesn’t have a “preseason” in which the whole team practices together before classes start.
Now more than a week into practices, Werwie said she’s focused on learning Dayton and Micetich’s playing styles — a stark contrast to a year ago when she had to learn eight different playing styles in a month before the season started.
“Last year, I learned eight different golf games,” Werwie said. “Now, I just kind of have to learn two. It’s fun, though. It’s fun to find what works and what doesn’t work [because] everyone’s different.”
The Ramblers’ fall 2019 schedule consists of five tournaments starting with the Redbird Invitational Sept. 9-10 at Illinois State University. Other highlights include the Loyola Fall Invitational Sept. 16-17 in South Suburban Flossmoor and the MVC Preview Sept. 23-24 in Burlington, Iowa.