Just above par

Alex Rogan receives medalist honors for second year in a row at the Bobby Krig Invitational

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Taylor Hagmann

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Just above par

Alex Rogan, who won medalist honors at the Bobby Krig Invitational for the second year running, takes a few swings on the golf course.

Alex Rogan, who won medalist honors at the Bobby Krig Invitational for the second year running, takes a few swings on the golf course.

Photo by SUBMITTED

Alex Rogan, who won medalist honors at the Bobby Krig Invitational for the second year running, takes a few swings on the golf course.

Photo by SUBMITTED

Photo by SUBMITTED

Alex Rogan, who won medalist honors at the Bobby Krig Invitational for the second year running, takes a few swings on the golf course.

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Thirteen years ago, Alex Rogan’s father, who enjoyed golfing himself, took nine-year-old Rogan out to the golf course for the first time.

“I liked it a lot,” Rogan said.

Now 22, Rogan has been playing ever since.

Rogan is a third-year accounting student, and has been playing golf on the Blugold team since his first year at UW-Eau Claire.

His first year as a Blugold, Rogan played 14 rounds of golf and had a total score of 1078 with an average of 77 shots per round, a plus-six par. His second year, Rogan played 17 rounds of golf and had a total score of 1277 with an average of 75.1 shots per round and a plus-three par. This year, Rogan played 22 rounds of golf, and had a total score of 1624 and an average of 73.8 shots per round, and a plus-two par.

Although each year he increased the number of rounds he played, the average number of shots decreased, as did his above-par number.

Darrin Skinner has been the men’s head golf coach since April of last year. He played golf for the University of North Dakota during his own college days.

“(Rogan’s) scoring average has dropped over a shot from his sophomore to junior year,” Skinner said in an email.

Rogan isn’t the only golfer on the team that has improved.

Isaac Prefontaine played 15 rounds in the 2017-2018 season and 12 in the 2018-2019 season, and lowered his above-par score from plus four to plus two, while in the same year, Nick Bauer and team captain doubled the number of rounds he played in 2018-2019 season and lowered his above-par number from plus four to plus three.

So far, of the three years he’s been on the team,  Rogan said they’re having their best year yet.

“For sure (this has been) the best year we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Rogan said.

Rogan’s optimism comes despite Prefontaine, whom Rogan said was “one of the best,” being unable to play the spring semester. Rogan says the fact that the team was able to move up in the rankings despite Prefontaine being unable to play was “impressive.”

Rogan said although golf is an individual sport, and it’s easy to be selfish, the reason the team did so well this spring was because they all played for the team, instead of their own game.

“Every score, every round counted,” Rogan said. If he got mad because of a bad shot, he would try to think of positive things to calm down. He said getting mad only lets the team down.

Rogan said that’s one of the big things he’s learned from golf.

“I’ve learned to just forget about it and move on. That helps me stay more calm, stay in the present,” Rogan said.

With the team’s overall performance increase, they ended the regular season with four Blugolds finishing in the top six golfers at the Bobby Krig Invitational, which took place in Minnesota on May 3 and 4.

Rogan, who received medalist honors for the second year in a row, shot a 72 in the first round, and a 74 in the second, with a total of 146 and a plus four. Cole Janke shot 75 in both rounds, for a total of 150. Brady Thomas shot a 78 in the first round and a 73 in the second, while Nick Bauer, captain of the team, shot a 70 in the first round and an 81 in the second. Thomas and Bauer tied for sixth with totals of 151 after the two rounds.

“It felt really good to win,” Rogan said.

Although there were only 40 or so teams competing in what typically has over 80 teams, Rogan said that wasn’t easy, but the team ended the season on a high note.

Even though Rogan won medalist honors at the Bobby Krig Invitational, he said that wasn’t his best round of golf ever. Last spring, Rogan shot 66 in a par-71 at the Lake Wissota golf course.

Despite the team’s banner spring, they were one spot shy of a place in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III tournament, which only takes the top 18 teams, Rogan said, with UW-Eau Claire finishing 19th.

For Rogan, even though winning felt good, he says he plays golf for fun, and although his coach described him as competitive, Rogan has no plans at this point to move into more competitive play.

Instead of gaining competition, Rogan said he’s gained a lot of friends.

“I’ve become very good friends with (the team),” Rogan said, adding that they all get along well.

A round of golf can take up to five hours to play, Rogan said, and the amount of time he’s spent on the green has helped him develop a lot of really close friendships.

“Alex is one of a core of players that show a great deal of pride in what they do, whether it is playing golf or academically,” Coach Skinner said in an email. “He desires to get better and has achieved the goals we set for him last spring.”

Rogan will return to the course next year for his final year as a Blugold, but he plans to continue to play golf for a long time to come. As he said, “You can play golf your whole life.”

Hagmann can be reached at [email protected]

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