The last ball has dropped into the cup in competitive play this fall season for the men and women’s golf teams and golfers are already looking toward next season while learning from their successes this year.
“I think the numbers really speak for themselves,” said head coach Nick Hovden.
These numbers are the places golfers finished at competitions as well as their rankings. The men’s team started the season off strong by winning the University of Nebraska-Omaha Invitational. There were eight other teams that competed, but the USD men came out on top. In addition to winning the meet, freshman Matt Tolan took home first place individually while his teammate senior Cody Seal received second.
The men continued their success by placing fourth out of 14 teams at the Washington State Itani Quality Homes Collegiate and eighth out of 15 teams at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Derek Dolenc Intercollegiate. At the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bill Ross Intercollegiate, the team finished fifth out of 12 teams with Seal tied for the 10th place spot. The men finished out their season at the Denver Paint Brush Intercollegiate. While in the mile-high city, the men placed 13th out of 15 teams. The freshman led the pack with Tolan and Scott Fundenberg, tying for 44th place overall.
The team’s play at tournaments was a high point this year and could signal a big boost in the program.
“The teams were both ranked the highest they’ve ever been since I have been here,” Hovden said.
Hovden has been coaching at USD for six years now. The men’s team ranked as high as 142nd in the nation this year.
The women had a strong performance as well. The highest they were ranked this year was 177th in the nation. At the University of Nebraska-Omaha Invitational, the women placed third out of eight teams. During the Missouri State Payne Stewart Memorial, the team placed seventh with senior Brenna Lervick taking home the gold. At the Nebraska Chip N’ Club Invitational, the team replicated their seventh place finish. The team rounded out their season with a runner-up finish at the Creighton Classic. Lervick also took first for the second time in the season.
Lervick has proven that she is a force to be reckoned with.
“From the start of our Division I era, this is the highest rank for both the men and women,” Hovden said.
In order to keep the ball rolling, both teams will be hard at work over the winter to keep their skills sharp. The most dedicated golfers will golf in the most inclement of weather, but there comes a point in time when the snow can hinder any kind of outdoor golfing. That’s when the golf team moves indoors to the DakotaDome. There, they’ll work on their long and short game. The Dome actually has an indoor putting and shooting green that was installed last winter.
“In a couple weeks, we are going to start working out and building up that strength for the spring season,” Hovden said.