MTSU sophomore and former Siegel star Madison Denton always wanted to stay at home and play collegiate golf for the Lady Raiders for as long as she could remember.
Today, she is one of the reasons why MTSU could be a favorite in next week’s Conference USA Championships at the Peninsula Golf Club in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Since earning a full-time roster spot on the team this spring, Denton has come into her own, including helping MTSU win the UALR Classic on March 25. A week later, she shot her best round of the season with a three-round score of 226 in Atlanta at the John Kirk Panther Intercollegiate.
Lady Raider head coach Chris Adams is pleased with the way Denton has stepped up her play this spring, especially with key players being out with injuries.
“She has come on strong this semester when we needed her,” Adams said. “She did not get the opportunity to play in the lineup in the fall, but she has definitely proved herself this spring. She is hitting the ball extremely well, and her ball striking is very good. Her confidence is growing with each tournament. She has stepped up big time for us.”
After her career at Siegel was over a couple of years ago, it was an easy choice for Denton in terms of where she wanted to play college golf. It was a decision she had already made a long time ago, and so far she is very happy to be playing in her hometown. During the past few seasons, the Lady Raiders played a home tournament at Old Fort Golf Course, and it gave Denton a chance to play in front of her friends and family.
“It has been great, and I live 15 minutes away from home,” Denton said. “So I go back on the weekends, and it is nice to live so close to home if I need something. I have played at Old Fort since I can remember playing golf. So to have our home tournament here I really like that a lot. I had always wanted to come to MTSU because when I was a little girl I would see the team practicing. They looked so professional with their MTSU bags and matching stuff. I was like, ‘wow,’ that is where I wanted to go. Finally, getting to come here was amazing. The fact I could stay close to home, and it has been a great experience.”
The Blue Raider Invitational was during the fall season on Oct. 23, 2013, and even through Denton’s score did not count in the team standings since each team is only allowed to count five player’s scores during a tournament, she shot a three-round mark of 229. It was her second lowest three-round score of the season.
Now the focus shifts to the C-USA championships, which start on April 21, and it will be a three-round, three-day tournament to crown a conference winner. It will be the first time the Lady Raiders have competed in the event since the program made the switch from the Sun Belt to C-USA during the summer.
However, MTSU is looking to finally break through since it has finished runner-up during the conference tournament the last four years. With the switch, both the players and coaches know it will be a lot of unknowns heading into it, but they are ready for the challenge.
“It is going really well, and we have been practicing everyday,” Denton said. “We all are working really hard because we want to win. This team is really competitive, and we all get along. These girls are family, and we are trying to come together at the end and push through.
‘We are working really hard, and we have our eyes set on winning the conference, especially since this is our first year. We want to make a statement that we are MTSU and we are here.”