Morris Pickens’ sports psychology clients include Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink — and the Drake men’s golf team. Pickens’ psychological guidance is already paying off for the Bulldogs.
“It’s a process, but you can tell everyone is already more mentally strong on the golf course,” freshman Dane Worley said. “We had a few nice finishes this spring.”
The Bulldogs fired season-low rounds at the Jackrabbit Invitational on March 12-13 in Primm, Nev. Worley led Drake with nine birdies to tie for fifth place en route to Drake’s day-one, seventh place finish. Drake finished the tournament in eighth.
After March’s notable Jackrabbit Invitational showing, Drake struggled to find its rhythm.
Drake finished 20th of 22 teams at the Arkansas State University Red Wolf Intercollegiate in Jonesboro, Ark on April 2-3.
Despite Drake’s rocky spring campaign, Worley is confident entering the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship in Hutchinson, Kan., on April 30 and May 1.
The Bulldogs’ 304.42 average score ranks seventh in the MVC.
“I am proud of the fact we are heading in the right direction individually and collectively as a team,” Worley said.
Conquering Hutchinson’s nationally ranked course is forefront for Drake.
“The course we are playing the MVC Championship at is very demanding,” Worley said. “It’s a top 30 course in the country. It is going to require a lot of patience by our whole team.”
Besides patience, Hutchinson’s challenging course demands teamwork.
“Our goal is to win,” Worley said. “We feel we can win if we are all playing well at the same time. We have the potential. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. Preparation is key. With the resources we have around us, we will be prepared.”
With MVC forces like Wichita State looming, sharp shooting is Drake’s focus.
“We have to put the good scores together at the same time so we can compete as a team,” Worley said.
Wichita State junior Rafael Becker tops the MVC, boasting an average score -0.48 under par per tournament. Besides Becker, four Shockers complete the MVC’s top five individual players.
The Shockers’ 282.54 average score ranks first in the MVC.
Despite No. 21 Wichita State’s notable numbers, golf is unpredictable.
“They are a good team, but anything can happen in golf,” Worley said. “Wichita State is the highest ranked team in the MVC, but other than them, the MVC is pretty wide open. We competed against several MVC teams in other tournaments this fall and spring and beat some of them, so it’s pretty much up in the air.”