Golf prepares for Summit League

By ANDREW HOLTAN Sports Writer

The South Dakota State men’s and women’s golf teams both participated in tournaments last week.

The men traveled to Chambers Bay, Wash. to play in the Red Hawk Invitational hosted by Seattle University. The women traveled to Kansas City to play in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Shootout. 

The men’s team was 10th after the first 18 holes, but would finish 14 out of 18 teams. The Jacks finished 85 strokes over par, whereas the University of Washington took first at only 14 over par. The next closest team to them was Seattle University which was 38 over par.

“I think we showed some really good signs that we can hang in there and then we kind of faltered back,” said SDSU’s Head Coach Casey VanDamme. “The men have been showing a lot of progress but then kind of slipping back. So they need to kind of keep it together for full rounds of golf and I think they’ll get to that next level.”

Freshman Zach Sackett and sophomore Grant Smith led the Jacks as they both tied for 30th shooting 17 over par. 

“They both played very well,” VanDamme said. “Zach had a hole and one on one of the hardest holes out there.”

The women’s team finished ninth out of 13 teams after finishing first, second, and first in their last three tournaments. Middle Tennessee State University came out on top.

“The ladies fell back a bit,” VanDamme said. “I think they were a little bit jet lagged after these last three weeks, so not our best performance.”

Sophomores Megan Mingo and Hallie Getz each finished in the top 20. Mingo tied for 14th with a total score of 229 while Getz finished tied for 19th with a total score of 230.

“They’ve been doing well all spring and fall,” VanDamme said. “They just did what they always do well which is pay attention to detail and strive to get better. Their swings have improved a lot, their ball striking, and now their short game is coming along.”

Although VanDamme is only in his first year here at SDSU, he has big goals for this program moving forward.

“We want to be a top 50 program in both men’s and women’s golf,” he said.

Both the men and women will play in the Summit League Championships next week in Monterrey, Calif. Both teams are looking to finish the season on a high note. 

“We just need to do what we’ve been doing,” VanDamme said. “They need to play with confidence and we’ve been preparing very well. I think that little setback for the ladies was a wake up call for them. They’re on their way and they just need to play with confidence and we’ll see how it works.”