Spring golf is in full swing. Last week the men’s team travelled to the Nicholls State Athchafalaya Intercollegiate in Patterson, L.A., while the women’s team was in Phoenix, A.Z. at the Grand Canyon Spring Invite.
After a rough fall season, the men’s team looks to bounce back this spring and win back-to-back Summit League Championships. Head coach of both the men and women’s teams, Nick Hovden, and assistant coach, John Vining, will be entering their third Spring season together this year. Hovden, last season’s Summit League Coach of the Year, knows that winning the conference is everything for this team.
“We don’t have to sit up in front of the players and tell them we have to win this tournament, we have to win conference. Everybody knows that,” Hovden said. “We try and stress having daily goals, staying in the process of getting better each day, letting the result and the process taking care of itself.”
The team had some roster shakeup with the loss of All-Conference player Sam Matthew. The Coyotes were able to nab Iowa transfer sophomore Jack Holmgren.
Leading the men’s team this year is Jordan Rykal, a senior from Rogers, M.N. With an already impressive career at USD, Rykal sets high standers for himself. After suffering an-off season injury, he said he hopes to bounce back stronger than ever.
“I have pretty lofty goals for myself,” Rykal said. “I hope to win the Summit League as an individual.”
With the fourth best scoring average in the Summit League, Rykal has a legitimate case to make a run at the championship.
The woman’s team had a strong fall and offseason and look to continue their success in the spring.
“(We were) looking to consistently put together four solid scores each week,” junior Brenna Lervick said. “Once you have those four scores in the Summit League that gets you really competitive.”
Lervick leads the team with the lowest average round so far this season. Since the end of the fall season, Lervick said she’s worked on her mental resolve.
“The last three holes are extremely tough and can make or break a round,” Lervick said.
A new synthetic putting green inside an old racquetball court was added over the offseason to help the Coyotes improve their short game. The teams previously practiced in the DakotaDome on the softball turf.
“Every putt is flat, every putt is the same speed. In (the new facility) we have the ability to work on a variety of different putts and chip shots,” Hodven said “In the long run it’s going to help us out tremendously in the spring”
The men’s team’s next tournament will take place after spring break on March 12 and 13 at the George Mason Mission Inn Spring Invite in Howey-In-The-Hills, Fl. The women’s team will venture to Primm, N.V. to compete in the South Dakota State Spring Invite March 6 and 7.