Last weekend, the men’s golf team made an effort to improve their chances of being selected to the NCAA Championship. The women’s team continued to hone their craft to be ready for tournament play since they already earned a bid.
The men tied for first at the Saint John’s Spring Invitational and the women took fourth at the Carleton Invitational at Northfield Country Club this weekend.
The women saw one of their own capture the top spot as junior Kate Engler won the event, finishing four strokes ahead of the other 45 golfers. The men recorded a score of 296 and were led by the young trio of freshman Brady Hanson, sophomore Eric Hagstrom and freshman Joey Dreier.
Head men’s golf coach Mike Greer said his golfers knew the weekend event was a big one for the team and they had a good game plan going into the first round.
“We were never getting ahead of ourselves,” Greer said. “The one thing you never know in golf is what the weather is going to do and if you get canceled, what is finished is finished.”
All season Greer said he stressed the importance of taking their game one shot, one hole and one round at a time. It’s as if the third-year head coach foresaw the effects mother nature would prove to have on the tournament.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be two rounds, with one round on Saturday and the other on Sunday, but due to poor weather conditions round two was canceled. As a result, round one scores were considered final.
“My job as a coach is to prepare them for the round,” Greer said. “It’s really fun as a coach to be out there with your group when we’re playing well and see how we prepare come to life.”
The trio of Hanson, Hagstrom and Dreier has contributed to the varsity roster all season and Greer said he was very impressed with the three athletes.
He said he credits the leadership of the team, especially senior team captain Ben Brooks, for the impressive performance of the young golfers.
“It’s nothing that I didn’t expect,” Greer said. “When these guys came in I knew how talented they were.”
Dreier tied for twelfth with 74 strokes and said he was proud of his teammates and it was fun to watch Hanson record birdies on the final two holes and Hagstrom shoot par.
“We just try to do as best as we can,” Dreier said “We are used to golfing in pressure situations and that helps us a lot.”
The first-place finish will help the Blugolds’ case for a bid to the national championship and they will conclude their regular season Friday with the Edgewood College Invitational at Bishops Bay Country Club.
The women’s team barely snuck in one full round between rain showers in their venture to Northfield Golf Club (Minn.) for the Carleton College Invitational last weekend.
Saturday’s opening round was cut short by a lightning sighting and the remaining four holes were completed Sunday morning before the rain started up, women’s team head coach Megan Sobotta said.
The team ended up fourth out of seven teams after the round. Engler finished the tournament on top, earning the number one individual spot with 77 strokes.
Sobotta said the conditions made things difficult but regardless, the team is not yet where she wants it to be for the national tournament.
“It was more of a difficult, tighter course and the greens were very beat up, but I did see a lot of things to improve on,” she said. “Getting so close to nationals we really have to be picky and improve on our weaknesses.”
Going into the tournament Engler said she wanted to be in at least the top five finishers, and she was very happy to take home the top seed.
“I had only played the course once before,” Engler said. “My short game really helped me a lot and I hit the ball well and stayed out of trouble.”
Engler’s teammate Emily Stone tied for 12th overall. Sobotta said Engler and Stone always battle back and forth for the top spot since they both have the “ability to throw some very low scores,” she said. But she said the whole team has been working very hard.
The Blugolds will be at home this weekend. Engler said she is excited to play on familiar territory.