Lakers claim third at NCAA Midwest Regional

GVL Archive
Junior Chase Olsen chips a shot during a past match.

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Junior Chase Olsen chips a shot during a past match.

Zach Sepanik

A second-day surge at the NCAA Fall Midwest Regional propelled the Grand Valley State University men’s golf team to a third place finish Monday at Hawkshead Golf Course in South Haven, Mich.

The two-day tournament saw the Lakers sitting in 10th place after Sunday’s action; however, a final-round team score of 295 moved GVSU up the standings to a tie for third, finishing with a team total of 599.

The University of Indianapolis captured the team title with a score of 589, and Ferris State University finished second, four strokes back. The Lakers finished tied with Northern Kentucky University.

“It was just confidence,” said Jack Rider, a sophomore on the team. “Indianapolis was coming in on a bit of a hot streak. We have struggled a bit and they walked in with that mental edge of playing good. If anything, we got our heads up a bit heading into conference.”

The conditions were not ideal as rain made it difficult to score low on day one, while the wind swept its way through the course on day two to present further challenges. Either way, each team faced the same circumstances and the Lakers found ways to persevere and improve.

“We made a big improvement not even from last week to this week but from Sunday to Monday, probably the biggest improvement we have made all year,” Rider said. “On Sunday the conditions were horrible and [Monday] was windy. Everybody made improvement which is always a good place to start.”

Sophomore Chris Cunningham, who finished with a two-day total of 148, four-over par, led GVSU. He shot 74 each day, earning him a tie for 18th in the individual standings.

Rider and junior Chase Olsen were not far behind Cunningham’s strong effort, with each shooting 73 in the final round to lead the Lakers’ charge. Olsen’s tournament total of 149 left him in a tie for 21st individually as Rider sat in a tie for 29th with a 151 total.

“It was definitely pretty tough to play Sunday as opposed to Monday,” Cunningham said. “[On Sunday] it took about seven-plus hours to play our round. I was pretty happy that I was able to stay focused and play good. As a team I think we did pretty well.”

Meanwhile, seniors Travis Shooks and Nick Gunthorpe rounded out the top five for GVSU. Shooks shot a pair of 76s to finish in a tie for 33rd and Gunthorpe posted a 75 in the final round to finish at 154 and 52nd place.

With the conference championships right around the corner, a third place finish is something the team can build on.

“If we play good, I don’t see why we can’t win [the GLIAC],” Shooks said. “Hopefully we play well enough to where we have a good chance to win it in the final round.”

GVSU heads to Bath, Mich., on Sunday and Monday to compete in the GLIAC Championships hosted by Ferris State University at Eagle Eye Golf Course with the field wide open.

“I think our team has just as much talent as any team we face,” Cunningham said. “There is not really any team in our conference that stands out from the others. We talked about how we have to be the team to step up to the occasion.”

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