Men and women swing into spring golf season

Tim Knutson

Tim Knutson

The men’s and women’s golf teams started their spring season with a trip to Florida over spring break.

The men competed in the Fort Lauderdale Classic, which took place in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The women attended the NIU Spring Lake Intercollegiate, in Sebring, Fla.

The Jackrabbit men shot a total of 605 (305-300), which gave them an eighth-place finish. The men shot a 300 in the final round of the tournament, their second-lowest score this year.

Head Coach Jared Baszler said, “The tournament went really well, although it did not look like it on paper. I thought we played a lot better than eighth. We actually only finished five strokes out of fourth place, so we were right there.”

Three golfers stood out for the men. Trent Peterson from Eagan, Minn., tied for ninth with a score of a 147 (72-75). Tim Kalil, a freshman from Rapid City, shot a 150 (77-73) which was good enough to finish 20th. Right behind Kalil was junior Steven Klock from Sioux Falls. He shot a 151, which tied him for 22nd place.

The women finished 11th out of 18 in Sebring. They posted a score of 625 (316-309). The 309 the Lady Jacks shot on the second day was their season-low. The score is exciting because it was the first tournament of the spring season.

Baszler said, “I feel really good after the tournament. We had a really great time and played well. The season-low did a good job of showing how well practice has been going.”

Leaders for the Lady Jacks were senior Kelly Evans from Brookings, Holly Opatz from Bloomington, Minn., and senior Lindsey Brown from Fort Pierre. Evans shot a two-day total of 152 (77-75) which gave her a 21st place finish. Opatz shot a 153 (77-76), and Brown finished with a 160 (78-82).

Both teams will play in the Payne Stewart Memorial in Springfield, Mo., on April 3 and 4.

After starting the spring season well, the expectations for the upcoming tournaments are high.

In regard to the men’s team, Baszler said, “I feel pretty good. There is going to be a strong field, and we are going to have to play better than we did last year. It is a challenging course, but it should be playing a little easier than last year. If we play like we did in Florida, we should be right where we want to be.”

Baszler said wind was an obstacle last year for the Jacks.

The outlook this year for the Lady Jacks is optimistic. Baszler said, “We have five strong golfers, with three seniors who should lead the way. We hope to continue where we left off in Florida, and continue to improve as the season continues.”