Missing the mark

GVL / Archive
Derek Barribeau

GVL / Archive Derek Barribeau

Tate Baker

The Grand Valley State University men’s golf team had established an enormous target on its back after winning back-to-back GLIAC titles the past two years. That target proved to be too big this week as the Lakers were unable to defend their title at the 2013 GLIAC championships.

“I think it was a combination of things to why we didn’t play our best,” junior Jack Rider said. “It was a tough weekend for all of us. In the end, we didn’t play terribly, but then again we couldn’t come up with the win.”

GVSU would finish fifth among the field of 14 GLIAC teams with a total score of 917—14 strokes behind eventual champion Malone University (903). Ashland University (904), Ohio Dominican University (904) and Saginaw Valley State University (916) would finish behind Malone to round out the top five.

“I don’t think we played the way we wanted to as a team,” senior Joel Siegel said. “It was very disappointing, especially because we didn’t play to our expectations. Winning the (GLIAC) for the past two seasons, it’s a disappointment not to win it again this year.”

Rider and senior Joel Siegel would both post top-10 scores as they each finished with a three-round score of 227 ( 11) to tie for ninth on the individual leaderboard.

“I thought myself and Jack played a lot of quality holes,” Siegel said. “I feel like we hit the ball pretty decent throughout the weekend despite the tough weather conditions.”

After a decent first round score of 75 ( 3), senior Chris Cunningham was unable to stay in the chase in rounds two and three and would eventually finish 22nd with a three round score of 232 ( 16). Sophomores Tyler Polulak and Chris Beltzer would finish with rounds of 231 ( 15) and 249 ( 33), respectively, to round out the top five for the Lakers.

“I feel like a lot of our scores didn’t really reflect the way we played,” Cunningham said. “I made several big putts, but there’s always the ones that get away from you that can affect your score.”

GVSU now faces an uphill battle the rest of the fall as the team will be fighting desperately every weekend for another chance at Super Regionals, which will be played in the spring of 2014.

“There’s a bigger emphasis placed on every single tournament we play in from this point on,” Rider said. “I think we are headed in the right direction, and in no way did this loss set us back. We just have to realize winning tournaments is no longer automatic for us.”

Up next, GVSU will travel to Eureka, Mo., on Oct. 14 for the Midwest Regional Invitational to close out its 2013 fall season.

“It’s going to be important that we end the fall season on a positive note,” Cunningham said. “As long as we play with confidence, we can get the job done next week.”