GVSU wins GLIAC South Invitational

GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Head coach Gary Bissell takes a swing at the Meadows Golf Course in Allendale.

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Head coach Gary Bissell takes a swing at the Meadows Golf Course in Allendale.

Brendan McMahon

The Grand Valley State men’s golf team ran away with first place at the GLIAC South Invitational in Lexington, Kentucky from March 25-26. The win marks the second GLIAC tournament victory of the season for the Lakers.

GVSU finished day one of the tournament in first place after shooting a 307 (+19). The Lakers looked upped their game in round two, shooting a 290 (+2), marking a 17-stroke improvement from round one.

“We didn’t play 17 shots better. We definitely played better, the biggest factor was just the weather,” said GVSU head coach Gary Bissell.

The weather during round one consisted of nearly freezing temperatures along with rain and wind, making the course wet and much more challenging to play. On day two, the temperature rose 20 degrees, with minimal wind and dry conditions. Bissell said it was like playing two totally different courses.

The Lakers concluded the tournament with a score of 597 (+21), edging second-place Tiffin by six strokes. The other 11 members of the GLIAC had trouble competing, as the Lakers won in a convincing manner.

All four Laker scorers placed inside the top 10 individually.

“We’ve been preaching about our depth all year and that’s how we were able to win this golf tournament,” Bissell said. “It really was a team effort, and our depth gives us an opportunity to compete in any tournament we play in.”

Redshirt junior Alex Nannetti led the Lakers in scoring with a total of 148 (+4), and shot the fourth-best individual score for the tournament. Nannetti was performing well in multiple phases of the game, and credits most of his success to his ball-striking ability.

“I took a step mentally by focusing on the process of each shot,” Nannetti said.

Just behind Nannetti were sophomore Domenic Mancinelli and freshman Bryce Messner — two young golfers the Lakers have become used to seeing shoot well.

Messner got off to a bumpy start in round one shooting nine strokes over par. Messner found a way to turn it around the following day by shooting an impressive 68 (-4), jumping 30 spots in the individual leaderboard.

“I didn’t putt very well in the first round,” Messner said. “I just changed my mindset and just played one shot at a time and it worked out.”

The Lakers now have won both GLIAC Invitational events this season, after grabbing a win at the GLIAC North Invitational in South Haven, Michigan on Sept. 20, 2015. The Lakers are glad to win, but want to avoid becoming complacent.

“We’re always happen to win, but we’re just focused on the next one now,” Messner said.

The Lakers plan to continue to work hard and improve. GVSU will look to eliminate short game mistakes and three-putts on holes. Bissell believes the team tends to give away stokes from mistakes that are fixable.

“We’re on our way, but we got bigger things ahead,” Bissell said.

The Lakers’ next tournament will be a bit more challenging as it consists of powerful non-conference teams. Bissell is unsure if the way his team competed in this tournament will be enough to win in tournaments later in the season.

Next, the Lakers travel to Batavia, Ohio to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional No. 3 from April 2-3.