The Drake men’s golf team traveled to Primm, Nev., to participate in the Jackrabbit Invitational, hot off a win in the Quintero Invitational in early March. The tournament was hosted by South Dakota State from March 14-15 at the Primm Valley Golf Club and included a total of 16 teams in the field.
The team placed sixth overall out of the 16 team field, shooting a combined score of 864 over the two-day, three-round tournament. While there was a solid team effort, the senior leadership was increasingly evident over the tournament. Head coach Scott Bohlender said he feels he is able to rely on his seniors to get the job done.
“Coming into the year, we weren’t sure where our leadership was going to come from,” Bohlender said. “[I told] them [seniors] how I saw them being good leaders of the guys in the program, and that they may have to do something leadership-wise that they may not be comfortable doing, but they have really stepped it up.”
The individual performance of senior Ben Freeman was especially telling of the way the Bulldogs played in Nevada. He jumped from a fourth-place tie at the end of the first day to finish in tie for third.
Freeman started off well in his first round, shooting a 67. He continued his streak by shooting a 71 in round two and then netted a scorching 66 in his final round for a total of 204. He said he felt satisfied with his play.
“Well, I played pretty well,” Freeman said. “I hit the ball really well and saw some putts go in — overall a pretty good showing.”
Freeman was coming off of a first-place finish in the Quintero Invitational. He was also awarded the MVC Golfer of the Week when the team played back-to-back tournaments from Feb. 26 to March 1. Freeman said he was honored by the recognition but didn’t want to let it get to his head.
“It felt really good. It feels good to be recognized,” he said. “I hope to keep improving and get another one or two [weekly awards].”
Other significant performances included seniors Cody Schweinefus and Brad Reierson. Schweinefus scored a 209 overall for a 10th place finish, and Reierson tied for 52nd shooting a 224.
The rest of the team did not finish as well, but Freeman said it is all in each athlete’s own play.
“You can only go out and take care of yourself,” he said. “The scores kind of take care of themselves, and you post good numbers.”
With only one more tournament to go before the State Farm MVC Championship, Bohlender said while he was happy with the team’s performance at the Jackrabbit Invitational, he feels the team has room to improve.
“We didn’t play as well against the Big 12 schools as we would have liked,” he said. “We played really well against the mid-majors. And I felt pretty good about it. Our ultimate goal is working towards conference, and that will be the thing we look forward to.”