Gorilla golfers headed in right direction
Garett McCoullough | Sports Editor
The ninth-place tie at the Northeastern State Invitational may not be exactly where the PSU golf team wants to be, but for senior Fletcher Harder and the Gorillas, it is far ahead of where they were the last few seasons.
Harder says he wasn’t necessarily pleased or displeased with the overall performance in the two-day tournament Sept. 24-25, but he does think that the team is taking the right steps as the mid-year break approaches.
“I think we are closer to where we want to be as a team,” Harder said.
That probably has something to do with the coaching change. PSU hired Todd Loveland to lead the golf team this year and he has instilled a stronger sense of team unity since becoming the head coach. The positive effects are becoming more evident each week.
“I think we played well this week,” junior Brett Dowell said. “We could have done a lot better, but overall I’m happy how we played. I really like our team.”
The NSU Invitational was just another step toward the MIAA Championship. Once again the Gorillas fared better on the first day than they did on day two. After finishing day one in eighth, the Gorillas fell one spot after shooting two strokes worse on the second day.
Dowell led the Gorillas with a two-round score of 154, earning him a tie for 36th. Dowell alone was example enough for how the second day typically goes for PSU, shooting two shots higher on the second day.
“The second day the curse played a little harder,” Dowell said. “At times it windier than Monday so it’s hard to judge the distance of some of clubs.”
Still, Justice Valdivia was the only Gorilla to shoot better than Dowell on day two. Valdivia finished with a 157, good for 44th place after having an uncharacteristic 80 in the first round.
Harder came in 50th with a score of 158 and Cole Murrin managed a 63rd place finish with his score of 160. Wes Kleinsorge was the lowest place Gorilla in the tournament, but showed resilience on day two. After shooting an 87 on the opening day, he managed to calm himself down and shoot a 78 on day two.
Myles Miller from Newman University was the top golfer at the tournament with a two-round score of 141. That’s an impressive 3-under par on a course where only one other golfer, teammate James Bolton, was able to finish under par. Newman didn’t win, however, as Southwest Oklahoma University took home the victory with a score of 589. Washburn was close behind with a total team score of 594 and Newman finished third with a 597.
Now, with the NSU Invitational in the books, the PSU golf team has two tournaments left before heading into the winter break, which separates the season in half. The final two fall tournaments will be in Missouri, as the Gorillas head to St. Charles, Mo., on Oct. 1-2. Then they head to St. Joseph on Oct. 15 for the two-day Missouri Western Invitational.
Outside of freshman David Jirrels, all the PSU golfers hail from Kansas, so their time could be cut short at any moment by unpredictable weather. That makes these last two tournaments critical, unless the team can arrange a trip to visit Jirrels in Arizona over winter break.