Individuals shine but golf teams sputter during fall

Spencer Chase

Individual performances didn’t translate into team success for SDSU this fall.

The SDSU men’s and women’s golf team finished up their fall season Oct. 24 when the women’s team competed in the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Intercollegiate in Kiawah Island, S.C.

This marked the end of a 2011 fall campaign that included only one team win, a 13-stroke victory for the men against Northern Colorado at the Tetons Dual in Victor, Idaho. After starting the season with a victory, the men’s team finished in the bottom two thirds of team competition at their remaining five meets.

The lone bright spot for the SDSU men was the tie for first achieved by David Smith at the Kansas Invitational.

The Jackrabbit women lost half of their team to graduation in the spring, and their fall season took the role of a rebuilding year. In all five tournaments the Jacks women competed they ended up placing in the bottom half of the field.

As with the men, there was an exceptional individual effort put fourth by Brittany Hanten, who tied for 6th at Illinois State’s Redbird Invitational. Hanten shot a 36-hole score of 147, second best in school history, plus a 54-hole score of 225, good for third best in school history.

Finding support to back those great performances was usually hard to come by. A common theme for both the men’s and women’s golf teams was inconsistency in individual play. For example, the women played in five contests, and had three different players post the top score. A similar situation occurred on the men’s side, as six meets showed four different leaders for the Jackrabbits.

Head Coach Jared Baszler said that both squads played “about how we expected,” but noted that finding an impressive individual performance was never tough for the Jacks.

“When you have a situation like when (Smith) won in Kansas and then the team finishes 6th, that’s frustrating,” Baszler said.

With the golfing season now on hold for roughly four months, SDSU must focus on their off-season training until the season resumes. An old racquetball court has been converted into an area suitable for practicing golf during a South Dakota winter, fully equipped with putting greens. The Jacks will also work out three times a week with the strength and conditioning staff. Although golf is a warm season game, Coach Baszler says it’s the offseason that the real progress is made.

“Having our home meet right away will get everyone excited and will hopefully start things off right,” Baszler said.

With the fall season coming to a close and the competition adequately sized up, Baszler says that he hopes to see both the men and women in the top half of the Summit League. However, Baszler says both tournaments, especially the men’s, are anyone’s game.

“The men’s side is really a toss-up. There’s greater parody there and that will certainly make things interesting come tournament time.”

The spring golf season kick off with SDSU’s “home” meet, the March 12 Jackrabbit Invitational in Primm, Nevada.