Uprooted Tulane finishes 2nd in opener

Tulane's Gemma Dryburgh

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That Tulane finished just two shots back of champion Kentucky at the season-opening Old Waverly Intercollegiate is pretty remarkable considering how team members spent their first two weeks back on campus. Head coach Andrew Pratt had to do some quick thinking when Hurricane Isaac blew through New Orleans and led to the closure of nearby golf courses.

Pratt hadn’t even seen his team hit a shot when storms began to blow into the area. By the morning of Wednesday Aug. 29, the weather was bad enough for Tulane to cancel classes for the rest of the week. Downed trees and power outages resulted, but there was no flooding.

“As soon as the storm hit, we contacted the NCAA and they gave us a release that we could go outside of the 100 miles to practice,” Pratt said. He had spent much of that Wednesday night working out the plan in his head.

So the Green Wave packed up and left for Gulf Shores, Ala., to make Peninsula Golf Club its home away from home. The team got familiar with the course on Friday, then used Saturday, Sunday and Monday for qualifying rounds.

It was a heck of a way to welcome three new freshmen – two of whom come from Colombia and Sweden – to the team and to the Southeast. They had only been in town for three days.

“It actually worked out perfect, the team got to see the golf course,” Pratt said of Peninsula Club, which hosts the Conference USA Championship this spring. “They also got to play four days in a row. That trip really helped us a lot for Mississippi State.”

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