GV men take 4th at Wisconsin-Parkside invite

GVL / Archive
Chris Cunningham

GVL / Archive Chris Cunningham

Lucas Rains

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Fresh off of its Saginaw Valley State Spring Invitational win, the members of the Grand Valley State University men’s golf team had high hopes heading into the weekend.

However, a tough second day of competition pushed the Lakers to a fourth-place finish at the Wisconsin-Parkside Spring Invitational held at the Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Ind.

GVSU shot a solid opening round on Sunday with a 298 ( 10) and was just two strokes off the lead. However, a 302 ( 14) finish on Monday dropped the Lakers to fourth place with a final score of 600 ( 24).

The University of Indianapolis won the invitational by nine strokes with a score of 586 ( 10). Wayne State University and Saginaw Valley State University finished second and third, respectively.

“We did a lot of good stuff along the way,” GVSU coach Don Underwood said. “We’ve got some things to work on. Some guys had some big numbers late in the second round, which wasn’t very helpful.

“I think we’re in a good spot, we just didn’t finish as well as we would have liked to.”

Senior Chris Cunningham turned in his second impressive weekend in a row, finishing even over the course of the two days.

He shot 72 (E) on both Sunday and Monday, which earned him a tie for third place individually.

“They were pretty different rounds,” Cunningham said. “I know I shot 72 both rounds, but the first day I was struggling early on and had a strong finish. Then my second round, I was playing pretty well but didn’t have such a good finish.

“It was kind of a different feeling at the end of each round even though I ended up with the same numbers.”

On Sunday, redshirt junior Jack Rider and sophomore Chris Beltzer both finished inside the top 15. Rider finished with a score of 73 ( 1) and Beltzer was right behind him at 74 ( 2).

The second day posed problems for the team, as Rider finished with an 80 ( 8) and Beltzer ended up with a 78 ( 6).

Sophomore Austin Eccleton improved from his opening round score of 79 ( 7) with his Monday score of just three-over par 75.

“I thought I hit the ball a little bit better than that score,” Eccleton said. “I didn’t putt very well over the weekend. We just have to close our rounds a little bit better.”

Sophomore Tyler Polulak had a much better round on Monday, scoring a 77 ( 5), giving him a 157 ( 13) 36-hole total. Redshirt freshman David Buko competed individually and tallied a 161 ( 17) over the course of the two days.

Up next for the Laker men is the NCAA Regional Tournament held at the Elks Run Golf Course in Batavia, Ohio, on April 5 and 6. The goal is to improve on the overall consistency heading into another weekend of competition.

“We need to keep making good decisions and making sure we have the right club in our hands,” Underwood said. “We’re going to practice Wednesday and see what the weather is like and maybe get on the grass.

“There’s not a lot of time for preparation at this time of the year. I’m still pretty happy with where a lot of our guys’ games are at.”