Cold and rainy weather will not hold the Drake men’s golf team back in its quest for the State Farm MVC Championship title today and tomorrow.
The team is coming away from successful performances in the last few weeks leading up to the conference meet, which will be held in Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. In their last three meets, the Bulldogs have walked away with a first-place finish and two sixth-place finishes.
“Everybody’s on the same page in that we feel that we could win the conference championship, and we’re working toward that goal,” head coach Scott Bohlender said.
The recent dreary, wet weather conditions have had a significant impact on the team’s practice time. Following a winter spent in a dome for practice, getting to outside courses is essential, but the unfavorable weather has made that difficult. There have been times, Bohlender said, that the team has practiced outside despite the adverse weather; they may just end early to prevent players from getting sick.
“Between rainstorms and cold weather, we’ve been putting in as much time as we can trying to just practice outside,” he said. “We don’t ever use weather as an excuse. If we could be playing a tournament in it, we would practice in it.”
The men’s success can be largely attributed to senior Ben Freeman. Freeman finished third at the Jackrabbit Invitational in Primm, Nev., and fourth at the Branson Creek Invitational in Hollister, Mo.
The team’s other golfers are also looking to continue their success at the MVC tournament.
“If you talk to every guy in our program, their goal would be to win the tournament individually, which helps the team as a whole win the tournament ultimately,” Bohlender said.
The women’s golf team placed fourth in its MVC tournament last weekend. Senior Michelle Mathwick and junior Chelsey Falk led Drake, tying for 14th place.
This team has faced weather-related obstacles as well, but these challenges have been present for the majority of the spring season. In their last few meets, the girls have also dealt with cold, windy and rainy conditions.
“You have to stay positive and focused and not worry about the little things,” Mathwick said after the weather made one meet difficult. “Just focus on what you’re good at.”
The players are focusing primarily on their short games, and head coach Leanne Smith said they are trying to do better with their par-five scoring. Mathwick is confident the team is heading in the right direction.
“As a team, we’re definitely improving and getting to where we need to be and where we want to be,” Mathwick said. “We’re all trying to have fun, but our main goal is always to improve.”