GVSU women’s and men’s golf come up short in national title bids

Courtesy / Doug Witte 
Golfer Chris Cunningham

Courtesy photo

Courtesy / Doug Witte Golfer Chris Cunningham

Tate Baker

A strong 2013 spring golf season came to an end this past week for the Grand Valley State University golf programs.

GVSU’s men and women’s golf teams each fell just a few strokes short at a Division II national championship berth this past week. The women finished fourth (976), 5 strokes behind California University (Pa.) (971). The GVSU men also missed out by one spot, finishing sixth (877), two strokes behind 5th place Southwestern Oklahoma State University (875).

“It was a tough way to end the season,” said sophomore Jack Rider. “Being that close to the National Championship, it will definitely prepare us for next year.”

Repeat conference championships is a common goal shared by both GVSU golf programs. Both clubs controlled the GLIAC this past season as they captured conference titles in their respective fall and spring seasons.

“Even though we didn’t accomplish all of our goals this year we still had a great season that we can build on for next year,” said junior Joel Siegel.

Junior Chris Cunningham led the Lakers with a total score of 211 (-5), finishing 5th overall, advancing to the Division II national championship.

“It was somewhat of a bittersweet feeling,” Cunningham said. “It’s great that I get to represent GVSU and compete for a national championship.”

Sophomore Jack Rider also had an impressive outing, finishing 10th overall with a total score 217 (1).

“As a team, I thought we all played strong,” Rider said. “A few putts here and there just didn’t go our way and that was really the difference.”

The GVSU men will look to defend their GLIAC title and make another run at the national championship next season behind the strength of their three upperclassmen Cunningham, Rider, and Siegel.

“The GLIAC title is our again our main focus,” Rider said. “Having everyone back, we will be prepared to accomplish some of the things we couldn’t this year.”

For the GVSU women, senior Ashley Beard shined, as she turned in a final round of 76 to finish 17th overall with a total score of 242.

“She really came through when at big moments when we needed her,” said sophomore Kelly Hartigan. ”Being a senior, it was great to see her play so strong at her last tournament.”

Freshman Gabrielle Shipley finished 19th with a total score of 244. Rounding out the top 25 was sophomore Kelly Hartigan and junior Veronica Ryan as they both scored a 247.

“Unfortunately, we picked regionals to play our worst golf of the season,” said Hartigan. “It was just an unfortunate end to the great season we had.”

The GVSU women will be led by Hartigan, as they also look to defend their GLIAC crown and continue to have high hopes for next year.

“I’m confident that with the girls we have coming back and the incoming freshman, we will be able to defend our GLIAC championship,” Hartigan said.

The GVSU golf season will wrap up the week of May 19th when Cunningham will compete for a in the Division II national championship in Hersey, Pa.

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