Loyola Phoenix

Men’s Golf Looks to Salvage Poor Season

Junior PJ Riner is averaging 77 strokes per round. Courtesy of Steve Woltmann

Loyola’s men’s golf team is looking forward to redeeming themselves at the Missouri Valley Conference championship tournament April 27-28.

Loyola will take only two veterans, junior PJ Riner and senior Nick Dennis, along with three newbies: freshman Garret Buckley and sophomores Ben Holm and Michael Valletti.

The team goes into the tournament at the bottom of the MVC rankings because of a roster decimated by injuries. This left Director of Golf Kyle Stefan with an unideal and inconsistent lineup throughout the spring season.

Riner, who statistically is having his best season yet with an average of 77.4 strokes, said that although the results are not what they have hoped for, the Ramblers are still looking to fulfill their original plans.

“We always have expectations to succeed, and we made team goals to win conference and to win tournaments, and we’ve stuck with those expectations,” the Johns Creek, Georgia, native said. “Even though our results haven’t been what we liked, we are still aiming toward those expectations.”

The men’s team has struggled with consistency in its lineup this season, but also in its performance. Riner said the team has the talent and ability to put together good scores, but needs to be more consistent so it doesn’t have to rely on certain people every time.

Stefan stressed the importance of his team peaking at the conference tournament this weekend.

“We want to play our best golf of the season. We have tried to use every tournament as a learning opportunity to kind of take away what we are going to face at conference,” Stefan said. “Our constant message all year is just a little bit better each day, each practice, each tournament, each month and really trying to peak at the end of April and getting our games where they need to be to be competitive at this tournament.”

Riner called on his team to focus on what is in front of them.

“We need to stay determined and not give up,” the information systems major said. “One bad round won’t put us out of it. There [are] always ways to bounce back.”

Loyola’s men’s golf team currently sits at the ninth seed in the Valley and will travel to Sunrise Beach, Missouri for the MVC championship tournament April 27.

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