Freed leads in team’s Jekyll Island Golf Tournament

Among other things, the coach and captain point to a full line-up, grit and ethusiasm to explain their winning season

Kathryn Young

The Washington and Lee women’s golf team placed sixth overall the Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate tournament, which was held from Mar. 6-7 and hosted by Barry College in Pine Mountain, Ga. Liza Freed, ’18, led the way for the Generals, placing third out of 90 competitors at the tournament with a score of 75-74—149 (+5).

Freed is a two-time Honorable Mention All-American golfer, averaging 77.5 over her last two seasons. Freed also earned First Team All-ODAC, First Team All-East Region and VaSID Second Team All-State laurels in her sophomore campaign. In the week after her big win at Callaway Gardens, she was named ODAC women’s golfer of the week, alongside men’s player Brian Peccie, ’20.

Freed did much better than she thought over the weekend; she didn’t realize how well she finished until the bus home.

“I didn’t even realize I placed third until two hours into our drive home,” Freed said.  “I was really surprised at first because I felt like I hadn’t played well that weekend, but once that wore off I was happy and relieved that I had started the season on such a strong note.”

Freed noted that she was nervous going into the tournament, but she did not allow her nerves to get the best of her. She kept calm and took each shot as they came. Her technique was a success; she defeated five of the top 11 golfers in Division III, including the first place golfer, Jane Hopkinson-Wood, of Wittenberg.

“I decided that every shot I got up to I’d just try my best to redirect my thoughts to what I was doing and not where I’d end up,” Freed said. “That helped me keep steady and allowed me to perform well, even if at the time I didn’t think I was on my top game.”

Freed’s teammate, Caroline Buckley, ’20, thinks that Freed’s ability to focus is what makes her successful.

“Liza’s greatest strength on the golf course is definitely her composure,” Buckley said. “She is able to hold herself together under pressure and execute without letting outside thoughts get in the way.”

Freed is a talented golfer, but attributes a lot of her success to one small aspect of the game: putting.

“The short game is where all the scoring is,” Freed said. “even if your long game is off, if your short game is good you’ll still end up doing well by saving shots.”

The team of just six ladies may be small in roster size, but their teamwork and support for one another is hard to beat.

“We encourage each other to take care of ourselves and since we’re a small team, we know what’s going on in each other’s lives,” Freed said. “If someone is having a tough day, we’re there for her.”

This support extends on to the golf course, where each member does their best to help their teammates.

“On the course, we do a good job of picking up any slack when someone struggles with a round,” Freed said. “Although it’s an individual sport and we all play separately, we know we’re playing for each other and give our all on the course.”

The team environment stuck out to Buckley quickly after she joined the team this year as a first-year.

“Joining this group of girls was like joining a family,” Buckley said. “Everyone was so welcoming and the team instantly became my closest friends at W&L. Whenever I need someone, whether it be golf-related or not, I can always count on them to support me.”

Headed into the Jekyll Island Invitational at the Indian Mound Golf Club in Jekyll Island, Ga., the team was both prepared and excited. Freed said she looked forward to all but one thing.

“I’m excited for everything but the bugs,” Freed laughed. “The course is fun to play and the field should be strong, so we’ll have some good competition out there. I think we all have a good opportunity to score well on this course and finish as one of the top teams.”

The 19th ranked Generals sat in seventh after the first day of the Jekyll Island Tournament, a field that holds 11 of the Top 27 teams in Division III.

Freed tied for 12th out of the 120 golfers playing, posting a score of +6 (78) after the first day. Mary-Frances Hall, ’18, and Griffin Foultz, ’20, are tied for 22nd overall with a score of 80 (+8) after the first day.