The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

UW-Eau Claire Men’s Golf finishes third at IWU Invitational

Amtmann shines as he takes second place at invitational
Amtmann locking to to the putt and reading the putt. Photo by Bill Hoepner from UWEC Photo used with permission.

It’s been a long time coming for the No. 22 ranked UW-Eau Claire men’s golf team. After a long season of winter training, the Blugolds got the opportunity to play competitively. 

Head coach Darrin Skinner talked about the hard work that goes into winter training and hopes for the training.

“We do a lot of preparation and repetition so that they are ready to go so it doesn’t feel like they’re taking three steps back when they start out after the long break after the winter,” Skinner said.

The Blugolds’ hard work showed at the Illinois Wesleyan University Invitational on April 5-6 as they tied for third place amidst tough competition. The only teams to score lower than the Blugolds were #4 ranked Illinois Wesleyan University and #8 ranked Bethel University. 

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Third-year Nick Amtmann was excited for the opportunity to get out and play. Amtmann shined, shooting a 72 (E) on Friday, and a 69 (-2) on Saturday, finishing with a total of 141 strokes, placing 2nd out of 200+ golfers and 1 stroke short of tying St John’s Nate Loxtercamp. 

“It was really nice getting out there with the team. Get the juices flowing,” Amtmann said. 

A big factor going into the team’s performance over the weekend was their preparation throughout the weekend and their comfortableness with the spotty weather.

“The week before the tournament the guys Monday and Tuesday played in snow for 18 holes.

We’re always going to be prepared for whatever the weather is,” Skinner said.

It didn’t snow but the conditions on Friday were cold. While it was cold, it wasn’t something the Blugolds hadn’t seen before and something they weren’t comfortable with.

Per Amtmann and Skinner, the two courses played on were in great condition and made for great golf.

“It was nice to see the putts actually roll pretty flat and if you hit in on line you had a pretty good chance of making it,” Amtmann said. 

“Really good designed, you need to play smart golf and leave yourself in spots that allow you to score,” Skinner said.

After a day that saw him shoot an even 72 at Weibring Golf Course, Amtmann didn’t want to make too many changes to his driving as the team made a transition to Ironwood Golf Course for day two. 

“I was kind of hitting the ball pretty solid pretty consistently, I kind of knew that would translate over from course to course,” Amtmann said.

Alongside his ability to drive the ball Friday, Amtmann needed to clean up and finish his putts to make a push to the top. 

“The biggest thing I changed was the putting. The first day I left a lot of putts short and didn’t really give them many chances to get in. The second day I tried to consciously hit them a little harder and it ended up working out well,” Amtmann said.

Amtmann’s consistent ball striking and improved putting on Saturday moved him into second place after finishing in sixth place on Friday. Amtmann had three birdies on the front nine and finished the back nine with two birdies Saturday.

Skinner has been impressed with Amtmann and the contributions he has brought to the team.

“Really impressive for Nick. Really seems to be clicking in and I really look forward to him continuing to turn the corner. He’s always been a very confident kid, I think he’s becoming more intelligent which really changes the ceiling for him a great deal,” Skinner said.

As it was just the first invitational of the spring season, Skinner felt like the Blugolds still have ways to improve but liked the way they played and know they have what it takes to compete and succeed in the near future.

“We played very competitively even though I know I had 4 guys that didn’t play their best. Being able to go forward and know that I’ve got guys that are going to get ready to compete,” Skinner said.

The Blugolds were able to stay consistent through the two days of competition. They had 297 strokes on Friday and 301 on Saturday. They had 598 total strokes that helped lift them over numerous ranked schools.

Amtmann likes where the team is at after the weekend and is looking forward to the future.

“I thought it was pretty solid. I kind of like how we are looking going into Alabama next week. If we do good on that we have a pretty good run at nationals. Seems like everyone’s kind of knocking the winter rust off which is really good,” Amtmann said.

The Blugolds will next take on the Visit Florence Spring Invitational on April 14-16 in Florence, Alabama.

Benes can be reached at [email protected]

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