Lone female Lancer golfer Meaghan Pototschnik picked up her second straight OUA individual women’s golf title last Tuesday at the championships in Waterloo, Ont.
Pototschnik shot rounds of 74 and 75 for a two-day seven-over-par 149 to win by three strokes over Devon Rizzo of Waterloo.
The fourth-year nursing student was the only female Lancer at the tournament as her teammate Megan Whelan could not attend for personal reasons.
“It’s all amazing,” Pototschnik said. “Especially being able to do it two years in a row was really special. OUAs are my biggest goal during the season so it was really good to finish with a strong tournament.”
Pototschnik was the low shooter on the first day, despite what she considers were the worst conditions she’s ever played in.
“It rained pretty much on and off the whole day,” Pototschnik said. “There was a 50-km wind. Yeah, that was really a major factor in all of my shots. It was cold, about 10 degrees but it felt like about five.”
That first round also took over six and a half hours to play. “That’s a really long time to be out there,” Pototschnik said. “It felt like forever waiting on every shot.”
Weather and slow progress aside, a quadruple bogey on the 18th hole was all that marred an otherwise strong day.
“I was hitting the ball perfect,” said Pototschnik, whose every shot was as she wanted it before the Par 4 No. 18 hole took her for eight strokes.
“That was tough to come back from,” she said. “My coaches were [there] when it all happened so they were there to calm me down and talk me through it. They told me I just needed to forget about it.”
“That hole didn’t really set up for me,” she added. “I felt really uncomfortable teeing off. I tend to draw the ball so I hit a draw and the wind just took it way left. I had to re-tee and I ended up in a bunker and then I three-putted. So that added up really quick.”
Pototschnik knew that the next hole decided how the remainder of the day played out. So, at the suggestion of her coaches, she tried to blank it out and move forward.
“I ended up hitting it perfectly,” she said. “After that, I knew my game was still there. It wasn’t like I hit any really bad shots on that last hole. It was just bad alignment and nerves.”
The weather improved on the second day, starting out cold in the morning but warming up with the coming of the sun. Pototschnik knew she had three shots on Rizzo, and this knowledge added more pressure than previously to her game.
“I find it more difficult to hold the lead than to come (into it),” Pototschnik said. “It’s just pressure. I was nervous. I knew that I was leading and I wanted to obviously finish in the lead.”
And her nerves showed, with Pototschnik three-putting three of her first four holes.
“I hit the ball really well,” Pototschnik defended. “It was just putting. My putting, in the summer and this year, is definitely my weakness. I’ve been hitting the ball the best I’ve ever hit before but my putting determines if I’m going to shoot low 70s, mid 70s or high 70s.”
With the help of her coach, Ryan Hughes of Beach Grove Golf & Country Club, Pototschnik was able to get back on track and par her next few holes.
“Ryan walked with me for the next couple of holes and told me to keep my head down and don’t over think my putts. He calmed me down and talked me through it and brought out my confidence. I needed that.”
Pototschnik’s next, and potentially last step as a Lancer– she graduates at the end of this year– will be the 2013 Canadian University Golf Championship in May at a location still to be determined.
“I feel good,” she said. “My game has definitely improved a lot since last year. I wasn’t hitting my irons as well during nationals last year, or as well as I would have liked to. Now, I just have to keep putting and stay focused with that.”