Three Pirates will be heading to Nationals for men's golf. Freshmen Lewis Hopkinson, Jasper van der Zon, and Scott Swayne will head to Glenlakes Golf Club in Foley, AL on May 21-24 to try to bring home an individual national championship for the Pirates.
NCMC competed in the District 1 golf tournament on Sunday and Monday in Cape Girardeau. "We knew that Dalhousie was going to be a tough course and we liked our odds going into the competition. It's a course that requires you to hit your targets and be confident with your yardages. Each errant shot adds two or three strokes to the scorecard every time," commented Coach Craig Sager of the event.
Pirates scores were as follows:
8th Place Lewis Hopkinson +16
T9th Place Jasper van der Zon +17
T11th Place Scott Swayne +22
25th Place James Gardner +34
T29th Place Cody Glenn +43
"Lewis and Jasper have the ability to shorten up a golf course with their length off the tee. This gave them several good scoring opportunities throughout the tournament. Scott made it to the National Tournament on the back of ball striking and a hot putter in the third round. He knows he isn't as long as most of the guys in the field, which requires confidence and accuracy. Long story short, you have to make putts and the three of them did when it mattered," detailed Sager of the efforts of his golfers who reached the national tournament.
In the event, the top two teams plus the next top five individuals reach the national tournament. Pirate golfers finished second, third, and forth spots to grab those bids. "Being a Region 16 / Region 24 combined event, there were a lot of pieces to the scoring puzzle. The guys had to block all of that out and just play golf. We had a feeling that there would be nervous hands holding the clubs in the final round and the field would more than likely move backwards. The guys did a great job of keeping their focus and intensity through the final 18 holes. It's that level that we need to replicate every day, not just in the final round of a big event," added Sager.
The Pirates took home first place in Region 16 as a team defeating Mineral Area College by 42 strokes in the event. In addition, the three national qualifiers also earned All-Region honors. "It was a complete team effort. I know Cody Glenn and James Gardner are disappointed in not making the national tournament, but we needed their scores to win the Region title and climb the District board to 3rd overall. I hope they reflect on this opportunity and realize that they've come a long way this semester. The same could be said for Easton Klaver and Nate Swann as well. Although they didn't compete in the event, they did push the guys at practice to make them better. They too were a part of this even though they didn't actually swing the sticks at the event," detailed Sager of the Region 16 Championship effort.
With Nationals on the horizon, the Pirates will now shift their focus to practice to ensure they are in top form for the event. "Making the National Tournament with three guys is a huge accomplishment. Hats off to Jasper, Lewis, and Scott on their play and their achievement. I think nationals will be a great experience heading into their summer tournament schedule at home. The guys will see first-hand where their games need to be to win a championship. There's no doubt that the three will compete their tails off at Glenlakes and represent NCMC well in the process," concluded Sager.