Ciskowski’s form work pays off

The sophomore has lowered her score by more than five strokes per round.

Gophers sophomore Heather Ciskowski tees off at the Minikahda Club during the Minnesota Invitational on Sept. 15, 2015.

Alex Tuthill-Preus, Daily File Photo

Gophers sophomore Heather Ciskowski tees off at the Minikahda Club during the Minnesota Invitational on Sept. 15, 2015.

by Jack White

The Gophers needed young golfers to step up after two of their top players graduated last year. 
Sophomore Heather Ciskowski filled that void. 
Her average score this year is 74, compared to a 79.93 last season. 
Her average round score is tied for the lowest on the team.
“She just worked on her game,” head coach Michele Redman said. “I told her what she needed to work on with her short game. 
We did maybe one or two things with her golf swing, which she kind of worked on actually before she got here, too, so that made it a little easier.” 
Sophomore Sabrine Garrison and Ciskowski played in tournaments over the summer and knew they would be counted on to take larger roles within the team.
“Coming from a team with three seniors … we were going to be leaders on team, since we do have such a young team,” Garrison said. “We knew that we’re going to step up as players, and we worked really hard over the summer on our golf games to get there.”
Ciskowski also competed in the Minnesota Women’s State Amateur Championship, where she took second place. She was hoping to make major strides after her average score was the second worst on the team last season.
One of her major areas of focus is her swing. 
She worked on her grip, the up and down movements of her swing and how she has her club facing.
“I’ve just been working really hard,” Ciskowski said. “I think the biggest thing for me was just really focusing on my game and what I can bring to the team, whether it’s scoring average, being a leader on the team, being a good person [or] being a friend.”
Ciskowski has already appeared in eight tournaments this year, tied for the most appearances on the team. 
She’s also finished in the top 20 on two separate occasions this year, after never recording a top-20 finish last season.
The sophomore showed how far she’s come at the Hurricane Invitational in early March. Ciskowski shot a 217 at the tournament, a 10-stroke improvement from her score in the event as a freshman.
The Gophers head into the Big Ten Championships this weekend, an event Ciskowski was left out of the lineup for last season.
Now, she’s expected to be one of the team’s biggest contributors.
“She continues to work hard on her putting and her ball striking,” Redman said. “She just needs to keep doing the same stuff that she’s doing now as far as practice and attitude and things like that.”