Men’s golf ends season with second place finish Friday
The UW-Eau Claire men’s golf team competed in the Edgewood College Spring Invitational Friday afternoon. The spring season came to a close as the team placed second in the four-team meet.
The Blugolds finished with a shot total of 304, leaving them 16 over par as they fought against UW-Stout, Milwaukee School of Engineering and Edgewood College. Stout finished first with 12 over par while MSOE and Edgewood finished third and fourth with shot totals of 20 and 34 shots over par, respectively.
Coach Jim Maguire said it wasn’t an easy meet and some of Eau Claire’s golfers were disappointed with their scores.
“It was really windy; it just wasn’t our day, but they hung in there,” Maguire said. “Some days you’ve got it, some you don’t.”
Maguire said the top five Blugolds could easily be matched with the top five from other teams, but that Stout’s sixth player tipped the scale in their favor. He added that a few players had slip-outs on the green.
Freshman K.R. Rucker, who shot a 79, seven over par, was one of the golfers Maguire referred to. Rucker said he and two other Blugolds, sophomore Ryan Grip and junior Ben Ziemann, finished at 79.
“Stout beat us by (four) shots, they didn’t do anything different; we just didn’t play to our capabilities,” Rucker said.
Maguire said the selections for the NCAA national tournament would take place some time today, but said it would be a long shot for Eau Claire to go.
“That’s the last thing (we would) expect. They didn’t play up to their potential. We all know we can play better,” Maguire said. “It would come out of the blue. It would be a great surprise.”
Both Maguire and Rucker said the Blugold team is very young and has used this season as a time to personally develop each player. Rucker added the numbers may not show it, but he’s seen a lot of improvement in himself, as well as his teammates.
“We gained a lot of experience and confidence and I think the years to come,” Rucker said, “we should be a really good team and contend for a lot.”
Maguire said this season has been different from seasons past because there has typically been veteran players on the team, adding some players he expected to return to the tees for the Blugolds didn’t. This year, however, all but Ziemann are underclassmen.
“They’re growing together and getting more comfortable,” Maguire said. “It’s a maturing process. We expect big things next year and moving on forward.”