Morgan Goldstein has never pulled off a competitive golf turnaround quite like the one she’s embarking on this week.
“My dad loves to do things on the spot,” Morgan said about her dad Bruce from the Las Vegas airport on Monday afternoon. Normally, this isn’t quite her speed.
Goldstein, who will return to the University of Iowa this fall as a sophomore, was supposed to be playing a women’s amateur event this week at Finkbine Golf Course, the Hawkeye’s home track in Iowa City, Iowa. She won the Midwest Junior there in 2019.
Golfweek Midwest Collegiate: Tee times and pairings
Instead, Goldstein found out Monday morning the tournament was canceled, so she started talking to a few teammates already playing this week’s Golfweek Midwest Collegiate at Purdue’s Kampen Course in Lafayette, Indiana.
“We figured out we could book a flight today, get on a plane, drive up, spend the night there tonight and then have practice round,” Goldstein said Monday of a tournament that begins Wednesday.
With so many elements of golf and life in flux because of COVID-19, Goldstein, who lives in Las Vegas, is playing anything she can get into. Her summer schedule morphed countless times. Initially, Goldstein, who just turned 19 on July 15, planned to try qualifying for the U.S. Girls’ Junior one last time (she has played it two times before in addition to two U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Balls) and also try for the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Those were to be among her only tournament starts.
Instead, Goldstein has teed it up in a couple of Cactus Tour events, a local one-day Las Vegas event as well as the Nevada Women’s Amateur. She won the latter, a 36-hole stroke play event at Reflection Bay Golf Club on July 19.
In the post-round interview for the state amateur, Goldstein noted that the grind doesn’t stop. She planned to keep on practicing for whatever kind of competition this fall season brings. Winning at Reflection Bay was a product of a recent swing change.
“My miss was a push prior to the women’s state am event and that was because I would slide my hips instead of turn my hips,” she explained. “I was working on more of a Lexi Thompson swing.”
She achieved it, firing rounds of 66-67 for an eight-shot victory. Lately, Goldstein has been working on the new move in the morning, then waiting for the temperature to fall in the afternoon when she would return to the course with her dad and play.
With the addition of Goldstein, the Golfweek Midwest Collegiate field now includes five Iowa players. Teammates Lilly Gentzkow, Dana Lerner, Manuela Lizarazu and Sarah Overton are also playing.
Iowa head women’s golf coach Megan Menzel is just happy to see her players competing in an uncertain year.
“You harp on that all summer,” she said of staying competitively sharp in the off-season. “You’re hoping they take that message and are ready to play when you come back.”
Still, Menzel thinks many players – hers included – might have benefited from the forced break in golf. It gave them a chance to rest, and now they’re hungry to come back.
Even though she can’t recruit, thanks to a COVID-prompted recruiting dead period (which includes appearing at any tournament where there might be junior players present), Menzel has kept a sharp eye on her players’ progress from afar. The Hawkeyes have a weekly Zoom call. It’s a good place to find out when and where each player is competing, what they’re working on and generally stay in touch.
Menzel and Dana Lerner, one of the players in the Golfweek field this week, even remotely read a book together during the summer, Every Shot Counts by Mark Broadie.
“It’s been fun to connect about the book each week,” Menzel said.
The Big 10 is among a handful of conferences that announced this month that should fall sports be played, teams could only compete within the conference. As the fall golf season approaches, Menzel has spoken with other coaches and is still waiting for further direction. Many details, it seems, still need to fall into place.
“It is a little bit of hurry up and wait,” she said. “You feel like, ‘This might be the week we find out something and we’ll be able to tell our team or make some plans.’”
The Golfweek Midwest Collegiate includes a field of 33 women and 85 men competing at Purdue’s Kampen Course. The 54-hole event begins Wednesday and concludes Friday.