Kennesaw State coach Rhyll Brinsmead picks one player to walk 18 holes with during each tournament round. On Wednesday, she chose Ines Lescudier, a Frenchwoman who nearly told her coach to take a hike – respectfully, of course – when she stood 2 over through six holes.
But, they managed to stick it out in the final round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, and Lescudier put on a second-half show that her Aussie coach won’t soon forget.
The sophomore from Marseille birdied seven consecutive holes on the back nine at Jekyll Island Golf Club to win the conference title. Lescudier is the first player from Kennesaw State to claim a 54-hole title.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Brinsmead said of Lescudier’s back-nine effort. Her 6-under 66, however, wasn’t enough to vault the Owls in front of East Tennessee State, which won by six.
In a game dominated by long-ball hitters, Lescudier through her incredible stretch gives hope to those who rely on hybrids and solid putting to get it around.
At 5 feet 4 inches, Lescudier carries three hybrids in her bag, and used one on two of her seven birdies. She hits it a mere 220 yards off the tee and carries three wedges.
“This course was actually made for me because it wasn’t a very long one, but I had a lot of shots between 150 and 170 yards,” Lescudier said. “I’m more confident with my hybrids than my 9-iron or 8-iron, which is crazy.”
A switch back to an old Callaway putter and added distance from a swing change that promotes a draw helped Lescudier reshape her game this spring. She broke par in at least one round in five of six tournaments, including a 67.
In Lescudier’s seven-birdie run, she didn’t face a putt less than 9 feet:
• No. 11 – par 5, 7-iron to 9 feet
• No. 12 – par 4, 8-iron to 9 feet
• No. 13 – par 4, 6-iron to 12 feet
• No. 14 – par 3, 4-hybrid to 10 feet
• No. 15 – par 5, 9-iron to 12 feeet
• No. 16 – par 4, 9-iron to 21 feet
• No. 17 – par 3, 4-hybrid to 9 feet
When she stepped onto the 18th tee, Lescudier faced memories of a triple-bogey 7 in the second round. She took out driver and found the fairway. When her approach landed again in the greenside bunker, she capped off a magical round with an up-and-down for par from 35 yards and a back-nine 29.
“That triple actually motivated her to really go out and tear it up,” Brinsmead said. Lescudier wants to play for France in the European Team Championship this summer, and she knows her college golf scores this spring can help or hurt her chances. She also knew that a victory at the A-Sun Championship was imperative if she had any hope of making the May 9-11 NCAA regional play as an individual.
“She’s a funny golfer,” said Brinsmead, when talking about the strengths of Lescudier’s game. “She has really perfected what she knows will help her scoring.”
She also has perfected the on-course snack. Following the tradition of French teammate Lea Charpier, Lescudier can’t get through a round without a Nutella sandwich – or in Wednesday’s case, three or four.
“I started my diet today,” she said, when asked about her craving for the hazelnut chocolate spread. Actually, it’s a team thing. Brinsmead buys Nutella in bulk at Costco.
“It makes them happy,” Brinsmead said.
And, in Lescudier’s case, unconscious.