Last week, head men’s golf coach Michael Greer said his team had one goal going into their next tournament: victory.
The UW-Eau Claire men’s golf team turned that into reality this past weekend as they finished first at the Frank Wrigglesworth Blugold Invitational, which took place at Eau Claire Golf and Country Club.
The win marked the first time since 2007 the Blugolds won their annual fall invitational, and it was also the first win for Greer as a head coach.
Senior captain Ben Brooks, who tied for ninth place with 151 strokes, said it was great to see his coach get his first win.
“Our coach (Greer) is a great guy, and we all like to work hard for him,” Brooks said. “I couldn’t have been more happy for him.”
Though Greer was excited about his first win, he said he was so proud of his guys in the way in which they defended their home course. Greer said in past tournaments, the leads they let slip away were because of certain uncontrollable events that would go on to affect his team mentally.
“We would let the way other teams’ players play affect us,” Greer said. “So the message for the weekend was for us to only worry about the things we could control.”
Greer’s message has been a point of emphasis for his team this entire season. Senior David Walter said the team has bought in and Greer has given them all the confidence they need to win, just as they did this weekend.
Walter led the Blugolds as he finished with 145 strokes, which was good enough for second place. Walter, who is a graduate of Eau Claire Memorial High School, said being able to play as he did in his senior year on his home golf course was special.
“This really meant a lot to me,” Walter said. “It’s my senior year, and my parents were there watching me.”
Greer said Walter was looking forward to this tournament the most.
“David came out with real clear goals in mind, and he was able to have a fantastic outing,” Greer said.
Like Walter, Brooks was also competing for the last time on a course he said has become very familiar to him. Brooks, however said he was frustrated with how he played in day one of the two-day event. He also said he played well enough the second day to give his team a chance to win.
“Going into the first day I was pressing hard because I wanted to play so well,” Brooks said. “But on the second day, I was able to go out there and enjoy the course knowing that the score would take care of itself.”
In his struggles Brooks found the words of his coach who told his team to simply go out, and win.
“Ben is a great leader for us, and he didn’t let the fact that he was frustrated affect the team,” Greer said. “This is a team game, and clearly Ben stepped up and played great on day two.”
Sophomore Nick Bertram and freshman Joey Dreier were able to tie Brooks with 151 strokes, tying them all for ninth place.
After the final scorecard was submitted and the Blugolds were named winners of the invitational, Greer had a few closing words for his golfers.
“I let my guys know how truly proud I was of them,” Greer said. “I told them to enjoy this win, but that we have to come back next week, and be ready to work.”
In preparation for the team’s next match, Brooks said his team is going to stick to the things they’ve been doing all year, and they will keep practicing their shots around the greens.
“If we can get a win this weekend then we will definitely set ourselves up for success this spring,” Brooks said.
The Blugolds will travel to Gustavus Adolphus University (Minn.) for the Twin Cities Classic Saturday, Sunday and Monday. This will conclude the fall portion of their season.