Legendary golfer Bobby Jones once commented that the game was a mental war played mainly on a small course inside the player’s mind. Senior golfer Brianna Broderick has taken this lesson to heart during her time at Michigan.
“I’ve really worked at the mental aspect of my game,” she said. “Coach (Kathy) Teichert has done wonders in helping me with this. I’ve improved every aspect of my game since coming to U of M, but especially the mental aspect.”
“Bri is a competitive young lady,” she said. “She strives at doing her best each day and tries her hardest on every shot.”
Broderick focused on all areas of her game in the offseason. She traveled to play in several tournaments and did cardio work and stretched to help with her flexibility.
All the hard work paid big dividends at the season-opening Lady Northern Invitational two weeks ago, hosted by Michigan State University. Broderick was tournament runner-up, recording a one-under-par 71 during the second round, tying her personal best as a Wolverine. Broderick led Michigan to a fourth-place finish out of 12 teams in East Lansing, starting the season on the right note.
Everything seemed to come together for Broderick at the Lady Northern. She has experienced success at Michigan State’s Forest Akers golf course in the past, winning the Mary Fossum Invitational as a sophomore in 2004.
“All in all my game was pretty strong,” Broderick said. “I’ve been working hard on my swing and I just trusted it. Overall, I just drove the ball better and putted better.”
Broderick hopes that success will carry over to Saturday’s Wolverine Invitational in Ann Arbor.
It should, considering the team has fared well at home recently. The Wolverines have won four team titles and three individual titles in the last seven events held there. Last year, Michigan won the invitational.
“We definitely have a home course advantage here,” Broderick said. “If we perform badly it adds increased pressure to do well the rest of the year, but it’s still pretty early in the season. I feel that we should do pretty well.”
But she isn’t taking anything for granted. The course still provides a challenge.
“It’s pretty hard compared to the other courses we play throughout the year,” Broderick said. “Alister MacKenzie, the designer, put trouble where your drives would be if you mishit. The greens are really where the fun begins, though. They’re huge with a lot of slope, so you have to use your imagination to putt well.”
But Broderick’s short game and putting have always been her strengths.
Many golfers struggle with their chipping around the greens, but Teichert said that Broderick’s up and down (chipping onto the green and making the putt) percentage is about 70 percent.
Hitting good tee and approach shots are important in golf, but that added touch near the green is what leads to birdie opportunities and low scores.
Broderick will need to be at the top of her game on Saturday: The Wolverines will face some tough competition. Big Ten rivals Michigan State, Ohio State and Northwestern – the three teams that finished higher than the Wolverines at the Lady Northern – will all be in attendance.
Both Broderick and Teichert agreed that, along with Purdue, those teams are Michigan’s main roadblocks to winning a Big Ten championship. Purdue won the conference tournament last year, followed by Ohio State and Michigan State. The Wolverines finished fourth.
Further down the road, Broderick hopes to follow in the steps of Amy Schmucker, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament as a senior last year. She has some extra incentive to do so because the central regional will be held at the U-M golf course.
Still, she doesn’t want to look too far ahead.
“I would like to represent our home course, but I want to watch it so I don’t put too much pressure on myself and the team,” Broderick said.
For now, Broderick will continue to take it one step at a time.