“I definitely felt like I hit the ball well,” Patrick said. “It’s a lot about trusting your swing and trusting what you’ve been working on. And that’s hard to do under pressure.”
The Tar Heels were hoping for a stronger start to the spring campaign after a promising offseason.
“We had great weather to work with this winter, and we had some great practices,” Sapp said. “I thought our guys were going into this event with a lot of confidence and really playing well, and they still are, but it came down to a little bit of a lack of experience and a little bit of nerves. A lot of things can fork that confidence quickly.”
No. 8 Alabama took first place in the event, which featured a talented field that included eight teams ranked in the top 50.
The challenging River Course at Rio Mar Country Club proved to be tough for the Tar Heel golfers.
“It was right off the ocean, so there were a lot of water hazards around the course, Patrick said. “It’s important to get a couple rounds under your belt before you play the course. For all of us, it was our first time playing the course, and all the other teams have been coming for years.”
The Tar Heels will have to overcome a lack of experience to accomplish their goals for the rest of the season. UNC’s youthful roster features five freshmen.
“For me, it’s been tough getting used to the team format,” Patrick said. “It’s not as individual as it was in junior golf. You have to score for your team, and that puts a little more pressure on you. That’s been one of the hardest things for me to adjust to.”
The Tar Heels will look to rebound March 4 at the USF Invitational in Florida.