After winning their first tournament, the USD men’s golf team are already in mid-season form.
In their first meet of the season, they grabbed first place at the University of Nebraska-Omaha invitational. Leading the pack was freshman Matt Tolan. Not only was Tolan a big part of the team victory, but he also earned first as individual.
“It was an incredible experience,” Tolan said. “I played good golf throughout the three days.”
Golf is at its heart an individual sport, and even though Tolan won the first place ranking on his own, he still gave kudos to his teammates.
“Team first is what my mentality is,” Tolan said. “I can’t thank the team enough for being there and supporting me, and having my back, and lifting me up when I have a bad hole.”
It was halfway through the UNO invitational, when the men’s golf team really started to turn it on. Even with their hard work throughout the tournament, it was going to come down to the last three holes to determine their fate.
“It was a challenge with the winds, for us to pull out a win was pretty special,” said head coach Nick Hovden.
Hovden was impressed with the team’s finish at the UNO Invitational. It takes a lot skill and practice to compete at a high level, but that’s not the only thing that Hovden believes is important to have instilled in his players.
“The biggest thing for us is boosting the kids’ confidence,” Hovden said, “In golf, if you have one or two bad holes, and focus on those, it’s tough to get a grip on what’s coming ahead of you.”
Positivity is key in progressing in the right direction in golf, and the Coyotes are definitely on the right path. After the UNO invitational the men took traveled to Pullman, Washington for the Washington State Itani Quality Homes Collegiate tournament. The men finished fourth out of 14 teams.
“Not to take away from winning the UNO invite, but it was extremely impressive to me how they finished,” Hovden said, “I think our finish showed our identity as a team.”
Moving forward, the team plans to practice and make even greater strides. They are hopeful that their friendly competition in practice, drills and creative competitive scenarios from assistant coach Vining, will be enough to pull out another victory at their upcoming tournament in Madison, Illinois.
“Our expectations are high,” Hovden said. “We are coming off two pretty big tournaments, but we can’t just sit back and expect a win to happen without putting in hard-work.”