Women’s golf heads to Mississippi for the Magnolia Invitational

With the fall season nearing its end, the Hawkeyes are focused on practice and working on the green in preparation for Starkville.


Megan Nagorzanski

Iowa head coach Megan Menzel talks to Manuela Lizarazu during the Diane Thomason Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course on Sep. 30th, 2018. The Hawkeyes placed 1st overall.

Cassandra Buchholz, Sports Reporter

The Iowa women’s golf team competes in its second-to-last tournament of the fall season next weekend as they travel to Starkville, Mississippi, to play in the Magnolia Invitational, hosted by Mississippi State.

The Hawkeyes last played in Starkville in 2014 for the then-Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational. They finished 8th place out of 13 teams.

“This course is set up really well,” Iowa head coach Megan Menzel said. “We’ve been working really hard on our game inside five feet. That’s an area of putting that we’ve been looking to make the biggest strides in.”

And early work they have put in. With morning practices nearly every day and most starting at sunrise during the week, the four freshmen for Iowa have been embracing the grind and fixing up their techniques.

Freshman Morgan Goldstein, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, was All-Southern Nevada first team, All-Mountain Region first team, and All-Northwest league first team during her senior year of high school. She placed first at the Drive, Chip, and Putt at Augusta National with the only perfect score in its five-year history.

Even as a longtime winner, Goldstein knows there are things to work on.

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“I’ve been working on my full-swing,” she said. “I usually drop the club inside coming back, which pushes the shot. I’m trying to work on my path and my short game for this weekend.”

Preparation and hard work are nothing new to Bogota, Columbia, native Manuela Lizarazu. Lizarazu, a sophomore, is the team’s reigning MVP and competed in all six tournaments last spring. She recorded a career-best 18-hole score of 68, a 36-hole score of 141, and 54-hole best of 214 (-2). She was ranked third in the 2018 class for all golfers in Colombia out of high school.

“It’s [The Magnolia Invitational] a really good tournament,” Lizarazu said. “The field is really competitive, which I think is really exciting because it pumps us all up to be really good and have fun in there.”

Golf is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one, and Lizarazu tries to use that to her advantage when she is out on the course.

“It’s all about mindset,” Lizarazu said. “Having the mindset that you can do it and that you’re capable of doing more things that you ever think you could. Our great team environment really helps out with that.”

The 11-team invitational includes big non-Big Ten competition such as Auburn, Louisiana State, Memphis, Tennessee, and Southern Florida.

The tournament is being played at the Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Mississippi, Oct. 13 to 15. On the 6,320-yard, par 72 course, 18 holes will be played each day with an 8 a.m. start for rounds one and two and an 8:30 a.m. start for the final round.

The Hawkeyes conclude the fall season on Nov. 1, where they will travel to San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, to compete in the Battle at the Beach tournament hosted by Texas Christian University.