Coming off of their tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Tennessee women's golf team caught a glimpse of how good it could be.
Following a 10th-place finish in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic earlier this week, however, they recognize that improvements are still necessary for this team to be a power on the links.
"We've got all the skills, everyone on our team does," said senior Chessey Thomas. "It's just the mental side, which is easy to identify, but going out and executing smart golf is something that doesn't come overnight. It comes over time.
"I think that once we realize that we can, that we are capable, we have the skill of being one of the top three or four teams in the SEC, and we will be. We have until April to figure that out, so that'll be what we work on over the next few months."
Lady Vols coach Judy Pavon said she sees the potential her players have to succeed in the field as well and is busy preparing them for the upcoming Darius Rucker Invitational on March 7 in Hilton Head, S.C.
"We're going to work a lot on our course management and decision-making. I think that's really what's costing us," Pavon said. "Our players are great ball strikers, but they don't always make the best decisions out there. We're going to do some short game work. We do have to be able to get up and down when we have an opportunity.
"If everybody can save a shot or two out there, it'll make a big difference for us."
The Lady Vols are acutely aware of what it takes to win – just two weekends ago, the team placed first in the Lady Bulldog Individual. Led by Thomas, all six Lady Vols recorded career bests in Athens.
Regarding preparation for the upcoming tournament in South Carolina, Pavon said both she and her players seem to be on the same page, indicating that smart play is the key to improvement.
"I think that most of it is course management on this particular event," Thomas said, alluding to one of Pavon's fundamental strategies, "It's a tough course. You can't overpower it. A lot of us hit the ball far, which is an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time.
"Golf is hard, and it changes every day, so you've just gotta play with what you've got that day."