Men’s golf overcomes poor first day, finishes third in Findlay Fall Invitational

The team practices pitching the ball onto the green. The team participated in some drills on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017.

The team practices pitching the ball onto the green. The team participated in some drills on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017.

Louis Ricard

Sometimes it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.

The Grand Valley State men’s golf team had to take that motto to heart this past weekend, as they finished third at the Findlay Fall Invitational Tournament in Findlay, Ohio, Sunday, Sept. 24, and Monday, Sept. 25.

In their third tournament of the fall season, GVSU started off in a spot they didn’t expect, shooting a 295 on the day. The round score placed the team in a four-way tie in fifth place alongside Indianapolis, Malone and Wayne State.

Sadly, that type of slow start is not uncommon for GVSU, as junior Alex Scott has noticed that this trend has continued on since his sophomore season. 

“I think we need to have a little more sense of urgency at the beginning of tournaments,” Scott said. “We tend to do much better on the second day of events, and it’s been that way since the start of 2015.”

Scott shot a 70 on the first day, placing him tied for eighth in the individual competition. Although his round could have been better in his eyes, the veteran knows his strength, and so does his coach, Gary Bussell. 

“I felt like the course we played on during day two fit our guys a little better,” Bissell said, and Scott agreed.

“I knew that Findlay Country Club would fit my game pretty well,” Scott said. “I had a game plan, and I just tried to execute every shot to the best of my abilities.”

Scott did just that, tying for the best round of any golfer in the invitational with a score of 68.

“Everyone is going to have bad rounds from time to time, but responding like that, that was pretty impressive,” Bissell said on Scott’s win in individuals.

Scott’s performance inspired his teammates, who were down 10 shots after the slow first day. 

“We knew we needed to play a heck of a lot better,” Bissell said. “We never want to be outside the top two. We shot ourselves in the foot on day one, and it was kind of a do-or-die mentality.”

That tenacity, and a favorable golf course, helped GVSU finish third, shooting a 284, the lowest round score of the tournament. Bissell knows this is only the beginning of a long season for his team. 

“We are just trying to get better every day and every week,” Bissell said.

The performances of Bryce Messner, along with Domenic Mancinelli, flipped from day one to day two. Scott explained that the format of the second course helped his teammates find one another for some motivational support. 

“I saw Bryce who was shooting at a hole right next to mine,” Scott said. “(Bryce) told me that he wasn’t doing too well, and I just replied that he had a few more holes to pick it up.”

Messner finished 35th, while Mancinelli fell short of the top 10, placing 13th with a score of 69 on the second day.

The mental mistakes seem to be the main issue as of right now, and Scott knows it.

“We know we have the talent to be really good and possibly win a national championship,” Scott said. “But the national championship is not being played tomorrow. It’s at the end of May of next year.”

While the national championship awaits, GVSU will have to focus on Ohio this weekend, as they take on the Kyle Ryman Memorial Invitational hosted by Tiffin University Saturday, Sept. 30.