As most people watched from the comfort of their own homes with the skies pouring down rain, the UW-Eau Claire men’s golf team was out in the elements competing in the St. John’s Fall Invitational in Sartell, Minn.
Despite the weather, the Blugolds tied for third place on a wet playing surface. The invitational contained 23 teams. It was also the second contest the Blugolds have taken part in this season. Head coach Mike Greer said his team was mentally focused, and didn’t let the weather faze them.
“I watched my players overcome the weather,” Greer said. “Golf is such a mental game, and we were able to stay in the moment, battle the course, and play good golf.”
Dating back to 2010, the Blugolds third place tie is the highest finish the team has had in a field containing 20 or more teams. Greer said placing in the top three was a big, yet realistic goal for the team heading into the meet.
“My golfers went out, and played their game and were able to achieve a team goal,” Greer said.
The team’s path to achieving their goal was not an easy one. Playing conditions were less than ideal for a weekend of golf.
Junior Jake Erickson led the Blugolds through the tough environment as he recorded a score of 148, which was good enough to tie for sixth in the final standings.
“Overall it was a good weekend,” said Erickson. “I was glad that I was able to shoot a good score, and contribute to my team.”
Erickson said his key to mentally getting through the weekend was knowing everyone was playing in the same conditions as he was and that he needed to keep a positive attitude. Greer gave praise to Erickson’s ability to stay mentally strong.
“The team was out there in the pouring rain and cold weather, yet Jake was out there taking in the moment like he was determined to beat the weather along with the other golfers out there,” Greer said.
The mental toughness of Erickson was exhibited throughout the entire team as senior Ben Brooks, freshman Joey Dreier and sophomore Nick Bertram all tied for 14th place with 152 strokes.
Bertram said he doesn’t let the fact that he is only a sophomore stop him from succeeding on the golf course.
“I’ve played enough golf for me that mentally, I don’t let that get to me at all,” Bertram said.
The Blugolds will look to continue the strong golfing this weekend as they will be in action at home Saturday and Sunday playing at the Eau Claire Golf & Country Club. Greer said his golfers are very excited to be at home this week playing on a course that they are familiar with.
The Blugolds will get a good look at familiar teams, as regional opponents Carthage College, Luther College and UW-Stout will be fighting to keep the Blugolds from placing first in their own tournament.
“It’s one thing to know that we have potential,” Greer said. “It’s another thing to go out and get the results we are looking for, and we need to find a way to carry that into this weekend.”