Men’s Golf: Inconsistencies a reason for both concern and hope in fall season
STORY BY KATHERINE BAUER
Freshman Tommi Avant hoped to play in at least one of the men’s golf tournaments this semester. He didn’t play one tournament, however. He played in all five.
“I was surprised and happy for myself that I was fortunate to play in all five,” Avant said. “I learned, after playing in all five, that I wanted to play in every tournament and show what I have to prove for the golf team. Definitely pursuing to be one of the top guys on the team has been a huge goal accomplished for me.”
Avant was successful in his pursuit to be one of the low scorers on the team. He was among Drake’s three lowest scorers in all but one competition and was the low scorer for the Bulldogs at the Bill Ross Invitational in mid- October. However, more can be expected of the young freshman in seasons to come.
“Without even talking to him, I think he feels he underperformed,” head coach Matt Lewis said. “Tommi shot a lot of scores around par to mid- 70s. Now he’ll be able to go into the spring and just play golf where he knows what to expect from me. He knows what a trip is like and he knows how to prepare.”
The Bulldogs are a relatively balanced team all the way through the roster, and so the low man on the scorecard seemed to be constantly changing.
Junior Drew Ison frequented the number one spot for Drake, posting the lowest total score in three tournaments. Fifth-year senior Blake Huser finished second for the Bulldogs in two competitions and clinched the low score for Drake at the last tournament of the year, the Old Dominion University/Outer Banks Invitational.
With the fall season now complete, Huser is the only Drake golfer ranked in the top 25 in the MVC at 20th.
Lewis saw these constant changes as both a strength of and a challenge for the team.
“Our strength is that, at any moment, anyone can perform for us,” Lewis said. “I think certain teams will have their one, two and three, and they’re going to carry the team … We have more than five guys that can perform and contribute. We just need a couple guys having a low score. If we can get everyone clicking on the same round or a couple guys clicking, the sky’s the limit.”
However, even if the team shows such great potential, the Bulldogs struggled to shoot under par. This has kept them toward the bottom of the field this fall.
Their lowest team total score of the season, 894, was recorded at the first annual Zach Johnson Invitational, hosted by Drake. That score was matched at the Outer Banks Invitational last weekend. The low team round, 293, was accomplished in the third round of that tournament, the final round of the fall season.
A key area for improvement is getting the scorecards to reflect the golf actually taking place on the course.
“We hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, made a lot of pars,” Lewis said. “We didn’t score as well as we hit, so we need to work on figuring out how to score better. It can be from setting ourselves up with more opportunities to being confident in our putting. I just think we didn’t score as well as we could’ve.”
With several months before spring play, Avant plans to work on becoming a more dependable player.
“My scores were consistent,” Avant said. “I want to work on dialing everything in and making everything compact and making sure everything goes the way I want it to go.”