Gorillas’ chances sunk on day two
Garett McCullough | Sports Editor
Winning the Pittsburg State Invitational may have been a slightly unattainable goal for the PSU golf team, especially while they are rebuilding. However, in this highly competitive sports world, mediocrity isn’t acceptable. Unfortunately, a poor second day dropped the Gorillas to ninth place out of 12 teams.
Sophomore Justice Valdivia led the team with a first round 71, and the Gorillas were sitting in fourth place, seven strokes behind after one day. Valdivia’s round one score had the Gorillas in contention, and put him tied for first individually with Missouri Southern’s Andrew Maier. Head coach Todd Loveland says this has been a theme for the Gorillas so far this season.
Senior Fletcher Harder also had a difficult second day, shooting three shots worse than he did on day one. Harder is playing in his second tournament since he suffered a knee injury last season, and he still shows some rust from missing so much time. Unlike most other sports, golf isn’t a sport where strength or force can make up for loss of technique. This makes the learning curve in golf incredibly steep, but Harder doesn’t make those excuses for his or the team’s inconsistency.
“I think our mistakes are magnetized on the second day of the tournament, because we have to get in the right mindset that we are going to win before we start the day,” Harder said.
The frame of mind a golfer has is possibly the most important part of the game. The best evidence supporting this is the Tiger Woods personal scandal. Woods’s case was the biggest scandal happening in sports until the Penn State debacle. Once the news hit the fan about the multiple women he was seeing outside of his wife, his golf performances dropped to a level close to that of an amateur, and he still hasn’t fully recovered, nearly 3 years later.
Woods’ case is more extreme than what the golfers at PSU are enduring, but nevertheless, trailing only by seven shots after one day puts the Gorillas in a winning position. In addition, it put them in position to achieve their early season goals, which can add more pressure to the already stressful game. That seemed to be the case with the Gorillas; only one PSU golfer, Cole Murrin, managed to avoid shooting worse on the second day (he had a 79 both days.)
Valdivia shot a 77 the second day, which was still good enough to earn him a tie for 6th place. Brett Dowell had the second best performance for PSU, finishing in 38th place with a score of 156. Harder came in 42nd with a 157, Murrin came in 47th with a 158, and Wes Kleinsorge finished 57th with a 160.
The golf team will be back on the road for their next tournament, when they head to Muskogee, Okla. There the Gorillas will compete in the Northeastern State Golf Classic on Monday, Sept. 24, at the Muskogee Country Club.