The men’s golf team finished a disappointing twentieth at the Duhawk Invitational this past Sunday and Monday.
With 20+ mph winds and below-freezing temperatures, the norm for the team’s two-day stay in Dubuque, Iowa, the conditions were, to say the least, less than ideal for a golf tournament.
“It is extremely difficult to play and stay focused when the wind is blowing so hard and when the temperature is that low,” said Bryce Goodman, a sophomore who carded two 84s.
Goodman was the team’s second man for the second consecutive week.
The team’s lowest scorer was again, senior captain David Marquardt, who noted that the cold forced everyone to wear more clothing. The increased bulk resulted in a lot of noticeable changes in swing pattern — something a golfer never wants to do in a tournament, he said.
Still, head coach C.J. Rugh refused to blame the weather for the team’s poor performance.
“I mean it was and it wasn’t a factor,” Rugh said. “After all the other teams had to play in those same conditions, and [all but two teams] still managed to beat us.”
Goodman and Marquardt concurred.
“Even with the weather, the team did not perform up to expectations this weekend, myself included,” said Goodman.
Marquardt expanded on this point, saying, that although the tournament seemed like a step backward, they are not worried, and will continue to “fine-tune” their game over the coming weeks.
A good place to begin their fine-tuning would be chipping and putting said Coach Rugh, which “definitely cost the guys some opportunities on day one.”
As a whole, the Prairie Fire again struggled with their short game, the resulting stress and difficulty of which eventually trickled down into the team’s iron play.
“When the short game goes downhill, it forces you to make perfect approach shots to the green,” Marquardt said. “That usually doesn’t turn out too well.”
With all the missed opportunities, dreary weather, and a disappointing finish, was there anything positive to take away from the two days in Dubuque?
The team impressed Coach Rugh with the mental toughness they exhibited.
“Under those conditions on Sunday and after all the failures to capitalize and the frustration that goes along with it, many of the guys had pretty bad starts on Monday,” he said. “Still, they stayed in there and kept working. And almost everybody got better as day two progressed.”
The Prairie Fire will be in Waverly, Iowa this coming Sunday and Monday for the Wartburg Invitational. Conference rival Grinnell will also be in attendance.
“The plan is to forget about this past weekend and continue getting better every day,” said Marquardt. “I am confident the team will bounce back and have a good showing at Wartburg.”