Golf teams look to finish strong

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

The SDSU men’s golf team is very young, with six of the nine athletes being sophomores or freshmen, but lone senior Steven Klock gives the young team some experience and leadership.

On April 2-3, the men competed in the Branson Creek Invitational in Hollister, Miss. The Jacks finished eighth out of ten teams. Geoff Mead opened the invitational with a 70 and finished with a 78 and 74 to end with a 222 total for three rounds. Klock opened play with a 73 and ended with a 74 and 81, finishing with 228. Trent Peterson shot the most consistently for the Jackrabbits, tallying a 75, a 77 and a 79 for a total score of 231. Mead tied for 10th, Klock shared 22nd place and Peterson finished in a tie for 30th.

The men will look to end the spring season on a high note, competing against North Dakota State University in the third annual Dakota Cup in Morton, Minn., April 21-22. The men’s team will finish the season the following weekend at the Division-I Independent Championships in Greeley, Colo.

Youth also runs through the women’s team, hit hard by graduation last year. Right now, the Jacks only have four players. Of the four golfers, only one is a senior, Cottonwood, Minn., native Dallas Willman. Holly Opatz and Amanda Rosol are sophomores, while freshman Erin Bergstrom rounds out the Jacks.

The women’s team is expecting a high-quality, high-quantity recruiting class next year, making the women’s program look like “night and day,” according to Jared Baszler, men’s and women’s head coach for golf.

Baszler credits the anticipated improvements to the Division-I move, which he called “positive.” He says the move has allowed for the opportunity to travel across the country and have access to better golf courses. On a trip to Florida, Baszler said he almost felt like a dad when he took his team to the ocean, which half of his athletes had never seen before.

In addition to more traveling opportunities, the budget has also increased. The women’s team went from half of a scholarship before the D-1 move to having four scholarships to award now.

In the Payne Stewart Memorial Classic held in Springfield, Mo., on April 2-3, the Jacks finished in 13th place out of 16 teams. Amanda Rosol shot back-to-back 82s to end the tournament with 164. Rosol has shot the team low in all of this season’s tournaments. Holly Opatz shot a respectable score of 84 for the first day, and finished with a score of 85 for a total of 169. Rosol finished the tournament tied for 27th place, while Opatz ended the weekend tied for 40th. The women’ s final tournament was April 9-10 at the Cowgirl Classic in Chandler, Ariz., where they finished ninth overall. Rosol ended in a tie for 29th, Opatz in 44th and Willman in 48th.

While the golf teams have not had any home matches cancelled, the Jacks have not been unscathed by the weather.

“(It makes) practice very hard, but not impossible. There is no substitute for actually getting out and actually playing,” said Baszler.

Come fall of 2007, expect an improved Jackrabbit golf program. Baszler said he is excited when the Jacks will be able to participate in the Mid-Continent golf postseason play starting in 2008 and 2009.

“The Jacks will be ready,” Baszler said.