Though headed home, Cheyenne Knight and Alabama teammates finish strong at NCAAs

Tracy Wilcox/Golfweek

Though headed home, Cheyenne Knight and Alabama teammates finish strong at NCAAs

College

Though headed home, Cheyenne Knight and Alabama teammates finish strong at NCAAs

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – On Sunday, Alabama sophomore Cheyenne Knight walked off the golf course in tears. She just carded a 4-over 76 and her team had played its way out of contention at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship.

A day later, Knight was in a much better mood.

No, the Crimson Tide, which finished 54 holes at 64 over, will not make match play at Rich Harvest Farms. But Knight did fire one of the best rounds of the championship so far, a bogey-free, 3-under 69, to help Alabama shoot 1 under as a team and end its nationals appearance on a good note.

“(On Sunday) I was very frustrated and my emotions got the best of me,” Knight said. “Today I just told myself that no matter what happens I was going to keep a good attitude.”

Knight also made a swing change. She was bottoming out her swing too early and hit a lot of shots thin on Sunday. She worked with Potter on the range Sunday afternoon and focused on shifting her left side, compressing the ball more and making a divot.

It worked. She hit nearly every fairway and missed just three greens. The no bogeys, though, was the most impressive stat.

So for Knight, those tears turned into smiles, and Alabama head coach Mic Potter was glad to see that with all of his players on Monday.

“If we’re going to be honest about it, they knew that they had no chance coming into today,” Potter said. “But they fought hard.”

No Alabama player shot worse than 76 on Monday. Kristen Gillman added a 2-under 70 and Mia Landegren, 29 over through her first 36 holes, shot even par.

“One thing that we struggle with is when the conditions are perfect we play really well, but as soon as things start going south with the conditions, I feel like it kind of gets the better of us,” Knights said. “But I feel like we’ve learned a lot.

“… We’re a really talented team. I hate that it’s already come to a close, but I think we just have to ask more of ourselves and be mentally tough.”

As for what the afternoon teams can expect, Knight said the morning wave definitely got the better of the conditions. The afternoon forecast calls for stronger winds and a 40-percent chance of rain later in the afternoon.

“The greens are getting firmer, for sure,” Knight said. “Coming down the stretch, there’s a lot of tough pin positions, especially 16 and 17. … Once you get to the back nine, you have a lot of long irons into greens, and especially the pressure of getting into the top 8, I feel like it will really expose some teams.”

Potter said the course setup was better for Round 3. Tees were moved up on Nos. 8 and 9, and Potter said he liked that his players weren’t hitting a lot of 3-woods and hybrids into greens on par 4s.

As for the weather…

“I don’t think it’s going to get bad enough to help us,” Potter said, “but they’re going to get some more ‘good experience.’ ”

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