By Ben Markley
For many teams, finishing the fall season in third place would be exceptional, but to the college’s golf team, it means playing catch-up.
“I would’ve liked to have been first or second in the fall,” said head coach Lafayette Norwood. “I think it would’ve put us in a better position to get some things we wanted to get done. In the spring, we have to come out ahead.”
Sophomore Devin Montague said the team goal was simple.
“From day one, the goal was for a conference championship, so that’s what we’re striving for,” he said. “That’s our expectations and our goals: to win our next two conference tournaments so we can win the next conference championship.
However, clinching a conference championship will be no easy task.
“We got a little bit of a road back to try and win the conference,” Rick Hairgrove, sophomore, said. “We’ve got to win all of our tournaments, and we’ve got to just kind of mentally stay in it and keep pushing each other.”
Despite the team’s upcoming challenges, Norwood is confident his team is capable.
“For me, [the Kansas City Kansas Fall Invitational] was a good indicator I think we’ll be able to get to where I thought we would’ve,” he said.
The team placed second at the tournament, with freshman Mario Funcic placing third individually with a stroke of 146 over 36 holes.
Montague said the team is ready to take first place in the spring season.
“I believe that we work harder than anybody else in the conference,” he said. “We didn’t have the greatest fall, so we’re coming from behind, but we know exactly what we have to do.”
In order to accomplish that goal, Norwood said the team’s improvement would have to come from each individual.
“What we need to do is get consistent output,” Norwood said. “We have five men on the team, and, one through five, we have to have each be more productive and step up to the plate.”
At the same time, Norwood has promoted an atmosphere of team unity.
“That’s what we’ve been preaching: team bond, a family thing,” Hairgrove said. “As the coach likes to say, being together in our goals.”
Montague said this bond brought a unique element to the team.
“People say golf is really individual, but I’m feeling more and more that we’re thinking about the team, which is nice,” Montague said.
The team’s next tournament, the KJCCC 5th Designated, will be Monday, April 16.
Contact Ben Markley, sports editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.