Pirate's Golf had a nice showing at the Missouri Valley Fall Invitational which was held on September 24-25th. The Pirates placed 4 of 8 in the team standings with a score of +30 for the event.
Individually, Lewis Hopkinson paced the Pirates at even par for the tournament which was good for a 6th place finish. "Hats off to Lewis with his level par score through 36 holes of competition. I believe he's the first person to accomplish that within our program. He made his fair share of mistakes, but making 10 birdies over two days will keep you on the upper half of any leaderboard. A solo 6th with that field will surely boost his confidence heading into the meat of our fall schedule," remarked Coach Sager.
The next best scores from the event for the Pirates were shot by 13th place Lathan Croy (+6) and T15th place James Gardner (+9). "Lathan made a step in the right direction after a disappointing finish at Graceland. We knew he was a 70's player and that it would take a little time to get acclimated to this level of play. He did it faster than expected and I think he'll keep progressing. As with all of the young guys, I'm going to protect him against the field as long as I can, but at the same time I'm not going to leave low numbers at home," commented Coach Sager of his highest placing freshman. "James also had a great tournament. Setting his new personal best at 76 will help his confidence. That's three straight rounds in the 70's this year and he'll keep improving; that's just what he does. As a coach, it's fun to sit back and watch hard work pay off," added Sager.
The rest of the Pirates that competed were all very close in score. T23rd Cody Glenn (+11), T26th Scott Swayne, Jasper van der Zon, and Kade Meineka, 29th Van Barr (+13), T30th Pirmin Kamm (+14), and T42nd Colton Barnes (+22).
"I'd be very surprised if there's another team in the NJCAA as consistent through their roster as we are at this point in the season. All of our guys can play and as we keep learning more about ourselves the scores should keep falling. At this level it's usually something small that triggers a hot streak. We're not there yet, but we're very close," said Sager. "We've got guys that are working their tails off in the weight room, the range, and on the golf course. Their scores are starting to reflect their efforts. On the flipside, we have a few guys that have reached their ceilings with natural talent and they're going to have to put in some extra time to get better. Finally, we have a guy or two that's probably pushing too hard. There's a fine line in golf, finding it is hard, maintaining it is even tougher."