Golf falters on second day to finish fifth

Courtesy / John Rider
Men's Varsity Golf

Courtesy / John Rider Men's Varsity Golf

Jay Bushen

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For the Grand Valley State University men’s golf team, an abysmal second day of action at the Parkside Spring Invitational left the team asking only one question: “What happened?”

GVSU was unable to maintain its one-stroke lead on Monday in the second day of the event, ultimately coming away with a fifth-place finish after a frustrating day.

“It was a variety of things,” said GVSU Head Coach Don Underwood. “To win golf tournaments you need at least two guys to play well. We just didn’t execute well enough.”

On Sunday, clear skies and warm weather translated to a solid round of golf for GVSU, which led the field of 14 teams while looking strong in all phases of the game. The team was led by junior Chris Cunningham, who shot a 69 (-3), which was good enough for a one-stroke lead individually.

When the temperatures fell on Monday, so did the pair of leads.

After shooting 297 on day one, the team struggled from a consistency standpoint and finished with a less than desirable 310 on Monday to complete the outing in a tie for fifth place with a final score of 607 (31).

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside didn’t hesitate to take advantage of GVSU’s missed opportunities, outshooting the Lakers by 15 strokes on the second day to ultimately win the tournament with a final score of 598 (22).

The collapse left GVSU golfers scratching their heads.

“It was just one of those days,” Cunningham said. “It’s frustrating—we just played a bad round of golf.”

Cunningham was unable to hold onto his individual lead after a disappointing second day, finishing in a tie for fifth in the tournament shooting 147 (3).

Juniors Jack Rider and Joel Siegel tied for second on the team with a final score of 152 (8), coming away in a tie in 21st place. Rider said there is no excuse for the setback.

“It’s tough to target exactly what happened,” he said. “The weather wasn’t good, but that’s no excuse. The cold weather is a disadvantage for every team. It did seem like ball striking was a little bit of an issue, though. There were a lot of missed greens and fairways, and it’s tough to score when your doing that—especially with a course like this.”

Ferris State University ( 23), the University of Indianapolis ( 24) and Wayne State University ( 29) all leap-frogged the Lakers to finish in second, third and fourth place, respectively.

Underwood said a number of mental lapses led to the fifth place finish. GVSU, which has no seniors on its roster, will need to improve from a confidence standpoint if it hopes to defend its 2012 GLIAC Championship in 2013.

“Golf is all about confidence,” Cunningham said. “A few bad rounds can hurt your confidence, but we just need to keep on doing what we’re doing. We’re right there.”

The team will travel to Georgetown, Ky., this weekend to compete in “The Jewell,” which will take place at Cherry Blossom golf course on Saturday and Sunday.

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