Lakers take third at Great Lakes Region Invitational No. 1

GVL Archive/ Kaitlyn Irwin
Past golf event

GVL Archive/ Kaitlyn Irwin Past golf event

Brady Fredericksen

After a historic first round that saw two school records set, the Grand Valley State men’s golf team grabbed a third-place finish at the Great Lakes Region Invitational No. 1 in South Haven, Mich. on Monday and Tuesday.

The Lakers finished the first day in a second place tie with Saginaw Valley State University but could not hold on in round two and finished with a score of 591, good for third behind champion University of Indianapolis (578) and second place Drury University (590). Three Lakers finished in the top 15, and the team was led by junior Travis Shooks’ school record-tying first round score of 66.

Shooks, who finished the tournament tied for fourth with an even par 144, also recorded what is thought to be the school’s first hole-in-one in tournament play during the first round.

“We had some consistent play that led to success early on,” said GVSU head coach Don Underwood, a four-time GLIAC Coach of the Year. “Travis had a good first round. The hole-in-one was cool to watch go in, but we were happy that it helped the team’s score too.”

Round two’s struggles can be attributed to windy conditions, which slowed the Lakers’ run. The trio of Shooks, sophomore Chase Olsen (145, 1) and junior Nick Gunthorpe (148, 4) fought through the wind and inconsistency to keep GVSU within a stroke of second place Drury.

“We finally played a good first round, which we haven’t been doing recently,” said Olsen, the 2009-10 GLIAC Freshman of the Year. “We showed we can shoot under par and compete with good teams in our conference when they’re also playing well.”

The round two struggles were a change from the historic efforts of the first, but the team’s play overall is something that can be used as a building block for improvement.

“We lost some shots late, but we can build on that,” Underwood said. “There were some good efforts along the way too, so there were positives and some things to work on and correct.”

After a second-place finish at last week’s Lake Superior State Invitational, the team’s tournament-to-tournament improvement may not be seen by the casual observer, but the players and coaches both agree that on-course consistency is becoming more apparent as the season progresses.

“Our scores didn’t reflect it, but I feel like we are starting to make better decisions at times,” Olsen said. “It’s hard to point out certain things to improve on each week because the course and weather affects us in different ways.”

While GVSU’s top-three scorers were strong, Underwood said he would like to see consistency out of four to five scores, opposed to just the usual three.

“Today’s finish showed us that we don’t always need to be at our best to compete; even with an off-day we can still hang in there,” Shooks said. “If we continue to improve our consistency and play, I think we can start winning tournaments.”

With the season still in its early stages, the team will see action this weekend for The Arendsen, which is hosted on campus at The Meadows golf course.

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