Schuldt keeps cool to earn women’s golf season-low tournament score

Adjusting her wrists a couple of centimeters may have done it. A seemingly small adjustment made the difference between another frustrating outing and the first top-10 finish at a tournament this season. Before finishing in a four-way tie for ninth overall at the Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate, junior Ember Schuldt worked with her coach to try to sure up her putting stroke.

“I’ve been kind of breaking my wrists on my way back and through the putting strokes,” Schuldt said. “I’ve been really working on just keeping it firm all the way through the stroke, and that helps me just keep the line on the putt more solid and more straight.”

The progress showed as Schuldt made seven birdies in 54 holes, with six of those coming in just the last two rounds. Putting was one of the bright spots for her, and it may also have been more effective because of another adjustment in the team’s practice round. Along with practicing the three-to five-foot putts, the team also focused on 50- and 60-yard lag putts in order to get a better feel for the different breaks that the course offered.

“I thought that was very helpful,” Schuldt said. “It taught me a lot about the feel (and how to) get the feel for the greens and just seeing some breaks you wouldn’t normally see.”

Schuldt’s score of 222, the lowest tournament total of the season of any player on the team, could be attributed to her cool and calm approach to the game.

“She has kind of a quiet resolve about her on the golf course,” assistant coach Jackie Szymoniak said. “When things are going well, especially mentally, she’s very stable.”

Schuldt’s even-keel approach helped her record rounds of 75, 73 and 74. The final round proved especially challenging, but her mental toughness was on full display. After hitting a couple of bogeys, she came back with three birdies and ended up at 2-over-par for the round, which preserved her top-10 finish.

“When her back’s up against the wall, she’s going to fight through it,” head coach Renee Slone said. “She doesn’t throw in the towel. She finds a way.”

The “way” in which Schuldt kept up her fight was a simple concept to grasp, yet a difficult one for a player to implement.

“I just tried to … just not let little things bother me,” she said. “Like if I got a bogey, it was like, ‘That’s no big deal,’ just kind of a move-on type of attitude.”

Slone also pointed out how every shot really counted for Schuldt because those birdies also helped her earn an exemption from the qualifying process for the team’s next tournament, the Marsh Landing Invitational. Her finish solidified her spot in the next tournament and came as a result of her mindset going into the last tournament, which she described as “going back to basics.”

“I thought a lot about, in the couple days leading up to it, what I used to do in junior golf when I was really successful,” Schuldt said. “I really just walked into a tournament with a lot of confidence, and I just felt like I was the best one there and that I could win.”

Schuldt makes the difficult seem easy when it comes to the crucial mental facet of the game and even laughed when describing how exactly she got back to the basics.

“For me, just having that confidence … I would quote it as like a swagger almost,” she said. “Just having total confidence in every part of my game and not worrying about a bad shot here or there.”

Alex can be reached at [email protected] and @AlexOrtiz2334.