The men’s golf team gets the season rolling at the Northern Michigan Invitational

Tate Baker

A strong day one performance at the Northern Michigan Invitational this past weekend paced the Grand Valley State University men’s golf team in its third-place finish at the tournament. Behind a 3-0 performance from sophomore Jack Rider, the Lakers finished the first day leading the match-play tournament 16-5. “We had a really strong start,” Rider said. “It’s always a good sign to get the season started out on a good note.”

As the weather turned for the worst, so did the Lakers’ play as the team struggled to a 24-18 record, third best behind Saginaw Valley State University and Wayne State University. “It was just bad weather really,” said junior Joel Siegel. “That’s obviously not an excuse because everyone plays through the same conditions, but we really had the ball rolling on the first day. Even though the second day did not turn out as we wanted, I’m still happy with our performance, especially from the younger guys on our team.”

GVSU featured a mix of young talent to go along with their big three of Chris Cunningham, Rider and Siegel. With the season just under way, it worked as a way to get some of the younger players experience. “It was nice to see some of our freshmen get out there this weekend,” Siegel said. “We have a strong freshman class, and it was a good preview of what’s to come throughout the season.”
That freshman class showed up big this past weekend as Sean Carlino and Chris Beltzer posted scores of 3-0 and 2-1, respectively. Oakland Community College transfer Ian Ellis also had a strong first day performance as he also went 3-0.

“It’s a great sign to see Ian get off to a good start this early in the season,” Cunningham said. “He’s going to be a great addition to our team, he just might be what we need to get over the hump.”
That hump is getting to the NCAA Division II National Championships, something the Lakers haven’t done since 2008. The format to reach that point, which has shrunk from entering five teams to just four, will be another obstacle to overcome. “It’s going to be a new look, with new teams,” Cunningham said. “When it comes down to it, we definitely have the talent to make it to the National Championships this year. It simply just has to all come together.”

The Lakers continue their journey when they have its first team tournament Sept. 17 and 18 at the University of Indianapolis Invitational at the Brickyard Crossings Golf Club.
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