The University of South Dakota’s men’s and women’s golf teams are ending their spring seasons as the women will compete in the Great West Championship Apr. 25-27 in Houston, Texas while the men will play in the America Sky Championship May 2-4 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
With only four meets to compete in during the spring season, the team has a short amount of time to prepare for the Great West Championship following the spring break.
Senior Stephanie Zavilla said the conference championship is the biggest tournament of the year so the team is hoping to play well.
“We get the chance to play all the teams from our conference from all over the nation,” Zavilla said. “Everyone steps it up a little bit since it’s the championship.”
Nick Hovden, both the men’s and women’s head coach, said this tournament means more to the women and the university than the others.
“It’s a conference tournament and if we win we can say we’re the best of the best,” Hovden said.
Hovden said this tournament is going to be a test for the women.
“We’re playing some difficult teams like North Dakota,” Hovden said. “We’ve been working hard, taking it one day at a time. We’ll keep grinding on the course and hopefully we’ll be ready.”
With this being the last tournament of her career, Zavilla said she is working hard to prepare for it.
“It’s going be a lot of fun and we’ll get to travel all together for our last tournament,” Zavilla said. “Hopefully I can end on a good note.”
Hovden said because the tournament isn’t happening until May, the team will have some time to prepare.
“It’s a long time to wait to play,” Hovden said. “I’m going to try to keep the guys loose and lively and hopefully we’ll have a good shot at winning it.”
Hovden said the team has had a pretty good spring season, despite not ranking the highest at tournaments. At the Branson Creek Invitational in Hollister, Mo., Freshman Nolan Schmidt shot a 75, the best score by any Coyote at the tournament, tying with teammate and senior Kyle Scanlon for 26th place overall.
“They will have to believe that they can play with those schools,” Hovden said. “It’s going to come down to confidence in themselves and the team.”
Schmidt said the team has improved since the fall season and he is optimistic about the team’s chances in the tournament.
“We have to compete with the top in the conference,” Schmidt said. “We have been playing quite well this spring and I know we can play with the top in our conference.”
Schmidt said the team’s biggest challenge will be to keep a good mindset.
“We can’t be negative if we have a couple of bad holes because we know we call play well,” Schmidt said. “We just have to keep that confidence up.”
Reach reporter Payton Randle at Payton.Randle@usd.edu