GVSU finishes third at NCAA Midwest Regional No. 3

GVL / Kevin Sielaff
Freshman Bryce Messner leans back to take a swing Friday, August 28th, 2015.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff Freshman Bryce Messner leans back to take a swing Friday, August 28th, 2015.

Brendan McMahon

The Grand Valley State men’s golf team took third place in the NCAA Midwest Regional No. 3, shooting a 605 (+29) at Elks Run G.C. in Batavia, Ohio from April 2-3.

The Lakers ended day one of the tournament in third place and just three strokes off the lead after shooting a 304 (+16). The Lakers had full intention of leaving Ohio with a win after a productive first round, but could not put together a winning second round.

“We didn’t do a great job of making improvements after round one,” said GVSU head coach Gary Bissell. “Individually or as a team we didn’t make the leap we needed to.”

The Lakers did improve their score second round by three strokes, shooting a 301 (+13), but still finished eight shots off the lead. Freshman Bryce Messner and sophomore Domenic Mancinelli led the Lakers in scoring, each shooting a 150 (+6).

Mancinelli got off to a rare sluggish start round one by shooting a 79 (+7).

“I couldn’t get anything going round one,” Mancinelli said. “I just used what happened in round one to make a game plan for round two and it worked out for me.”

Mancinelli learned from his struggles and shaved eight strokes round two, shooting a 71 (-1). Despite the harsh crosswinds and the tough putting greens that made the course more difficult, Mancinelli stayed focused and kept a positive approach.

Messner stayed consistent through both rounds as he shot a 75 (+3) in each. Three-putts and missed wedge shots prevented Messner from shooting an even better round. Just a freshman, Messner is no stranger to the front of the leaderboard.

“There’s no added pressure. We have great depth and we’re all capable of shooting well and picking each other up,” Messner said.

The tournament field consisted of 25 universities from all over the Midwest. But, a third-place finish is still not satisfying for the Lakers.

“Third out of 25 teams is not going to hurt us,” Bissell said. “The part that is a little alarming is we’re not taking many strides forward at this point.”

There is no limit as to how good the Lakers could be in their own eyes. It is just a matter of reaching their full potential at the right time.

“We’re not satisfied,” Mancinelli said. “We have a lot of room for improvement and we’ll keep learning with every tournament.”

The Lakers will have some time off the course before their next event. Regardless, Bissell is eager to find new ways to push his team to perform at the level he knows they are capable of playing at.

Every tournament carries significance at this point in the year, with postseason play right around the corner. It is crucial for the Lakers to gain momentum and reach their potential within the next few rounds.

The Lakers will next travel to Noblesville, Indiana to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional No. 4 from April 10-11.