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Soper ends nationals in middle of the pack

By Staff | May 17, 2008

DAYTONA, BEACH Fla. — In Ricca Soper’s eyes, the Women’s NJCAA National Golf Tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla., wasn’t her best experience on the golf course.

But, as her dad (and coach) Dan Soper says, she’ll see it in a different light when she looks back on this later.

“It was a great experience,” coach Soper said. “But if you talk with her, she doesn’t see it that way. It was the hardest golf course she’s ever played.”

The Iowa Lakes freshman’s play didn’t reflect how well she had played during the season with the Laker women, according to her dad.

“The big thing was that her ball striking wasn’t as good as she had all spring,” Coach Soper said. “She’ll build on this experience. We’ll work on her swing through the summer.”

Soper’s first appearance in a national tourney got off to a rough start when play was suspended due to brush fires around Daytona Beach. But, she used that time to do something she likely wouldn’t have had time for otherwise.

“We drove down to Orlando,” said coach Soper. “We met up with Matt Beaver (Estherville native) and … superintendent of the Bay Hill Golf Course.”

Beaver took the time to give them a tour of the famous Arnold Palmer golf course as well as the pro shop. And, he and his wife also ate with them.

Soper finished 59th in a field of 112. And her dad says she’s already taken a big step toward next year, and hopefully returning to the national tournament.

“She shot a 42 on the back 9 Thursday,” Coach Soper said. “The last nine was her best.”

Coach Soper doesn’t stay in Iowa very long; he heads out Monday (May 19) to join three men’s golfers who will play in the national tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., May 20-23.