Men’s golf struggles through Sunriver invitational

Kaelia Neal and Ross Passeck, Sports Editor

The venue for the men’s golf team’s most recent tournament was sublime but their game was anything but. Wind and illness blindsided the team this weekend at the idyllic Woodlands Golf Course in Sunriver, Ore.

“Overall we were disappointed,” Coach Greg Copeland said. “I think every single guy thinks he didn’t play well and could have played a lot better.”

Captain Sam McLain, ’17, said, “We had a rough weekend overall as a team. Both days were a struggle for pretty much everyone.”

On the first day of the tournament 35 mph gusts of wind were whipping across the course, ramping up the difficulty for the team. Linfield ended the day tied for fifth place with Lewis and Clark with a score of 337. Willamette led with 310.

Kyle Hargrave, 18, led the team the first day with a score of 81 points. Logan Davis, ’18, followed three strokes behind, scoring 84.

Lucas Balala, ’18, scored 85, McLain shot 87 and Mason Krieger, ’19, earned a 90. Overall this was not up to par with coach Copeland’s expectations.

“Typically we’re all in the 70s,” Copeland said. “We just didn’t play up to our normal standards.”

On the second day the ’Cats faced another setback in the form of illness. Hargrave, Linfield’s lowest scorer on the first day of the tournament, became ill and was unable to play.

Fortunately the sophomores were able to step up for the team. Davis had the best score for the ’Cats of 79 points with Lucas Balala, ’18, closely behind at 80.

Despite their low scores Linfield fell from fifth to sixth place, and Whitworth won the tournament.

“We had some pretty good shots and made some nice birdies, but because the scores were high they didn’t play well overall,” Copeland said.

Copeland said even if the Wildcats win the two tournaments in the spring, it would be difficult for them to move to first place.

McLain said the team’s score does not look impressive compared to the rest of the conference, but the ’Cats are much better than that.

“We are good enough to play with anyone in this conference and we just need to get timing right,” McLain said.

No one on the team could be happy with this tournament’s results however it is never a struggle for this team to maintain a sense of humor and continue to look forward.

“Our team camaraderie is flawless,” McLain said. “We are all very close and we all support each other through the good times and bad.”

Huddled together in a van on the trip back to Linfield, McLain said the team is cracking jokes to lighten up the mood.

“We can’t take anything too seriously. We know we’re good, and we know we’re going to do better next time,” he said.