The University of South Dakota men’s golf team continued to put up solid numbers at the Western Illinois Beu Mussatto Invite March 31 and April 1, while the women struggled at the Georgia State Panther Intercollegiate tournament.
Head coach Nick Hovden said the men hung tough in the cold and windy conditions.
“They were right in the mix of things coming in the last four or five holes,” he said. “They put up a few big numbers here or there which ended in a second place finish.”
Hovden said junior Sam Matthew and sophomore Jordan Rykal played well. Matthew ended with a second-place finish and Rykal came in at 15th.
During their time in Georgia, Hovden said the women had a tough time around the green.
“They had a tough course and hard competition,” he said. “Ultimately it prepared them for this week.”
The women traveled to Kansas City, Mo., for the UMKC Spring Invite April 7-8. They placed ninth out of 15 teams in the tournament.
“We’re really going to have to work hard if we’re going to be able to compete in Texas,” Hovden said.
First-year Brenna Lervick said the team drastically improved from the tournament in Georgia.
“We dropped about 30 to 40 strokes from the first round in Georgia to the first round here in Kansas City,” she said. “We’re finally getting to the place we should be playing at going into conference.”
Lervick is one of five girls competing in the conference tournament April 21-April 23 in Keller, Texas.
“I’ll be working on playing on outside, playing in the wind and all around on my game so I can be confident when I go down there to play,” Lervick said.
The men compete next at the Tennessee State Big Blue Intercollegiate tournament April 14-15. Hovden said the tournament will be a good warm-up for the conference tournament.
“We are right where we want to be for the conference tournament, and we have a good shot at winning,” he said.
While Hovden said it will be great to finish well at the upcoming tournament, he is focusing on the men he will be bringing to Dallas for the championship.
“Five of the six guys going to Tennessee will go to the conference tournament,” Hovden said.
Rykal said doing well in the upcoming competition will give the team a good vibe going into the conference tournament.
“If we play well it will be a nice boost and give us some confidence going into the tournament,” he said.
Photo: First-year Grant Cambell tees off on hole 11 during golf practice April 8. (Malachi Petersen/The Volante)