Loyola Phoenix

Golf Preseason Off to a Rocky Start in Opening Meets

PJ Riner said the first tournament is always difficult when it comes to dealing with nerves, but it creates a great stepping stone for the rest of the season. // Steve Woltmann

Loyola’s men’s and women’s golf teams have swung into action and completed their first two preseason tournaments. The women’s team finished No. 9 out of 16 teams at the Red Bird Invitational on Sept. 9, and the men’s team ended the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate tournament at No. 14 out of 18 teams on Sept. 14, swinging a collective three-round-total of 914.

When the women’s team traveled down to Normal, Illinois, for the Red Bird Invitational, hosted by Illinois State University, it played subpar. The Director of Golf Kyle Stefan said he believes that despite the middle-of-the-pack result, the meet was a sign of good things to come.

“We improved off of last year … we are always looking to take small steps forward,” said Stefan. “I don’t feel we played even close to our best golf, but we were very competitive and showed some bright spots.”

Freshman Elayna Bowser recorded the lowest score for the Ramblers and placed No. 17 overall.

Senior Olivia Lindsley, a finance major, had a fair outing, shooting six strokes over par. Even though the team has improved, both her and the team still have room to grow, she said.

“I definitely believe I played more confidently than I did last year,” said Lindsley. “That’s what I worked on over the summer … I developed my mental game rather than the technicality of golf … I think our consistency as a team showed … but we still have a lot of work to be done. I think we can build off a lot of what we learned at the invitational.”

Lindsley, the team’s captain, said she understands the importance of her role as captain, and she knows what she needs to do to help the team improve.

“The biggest thing for me is not only being a leader on the golf course, but also in the classroom,” Lindsley said. “Being the teammate that everyone knows they can come up to for anything they need help with is important to me. I’m thrilled to be captain.”

On the men’s side, the team traveled to New York for the Turning Stone-Tiger Intercollegiate, hosted by the University of Missouri on Sept. 6-7. Loyola struggled from the start and placed No. 13 out of 16 teams. Stefan said he thinks a combination of little problems led to the outcome.

“We didn’t play our best,” Stefan said. “We played well the last day … but [we] had correctable mistakes. Some holes got away. It was windier [and] the holes get a little bit tougher. But we’re not going to throw everything to the fire because of one week.”

Sophomore Garret Buckley was named the Missouri Valley Conference men’s golfer of the week. He led the Ramblers at the event, finishing in 12th place.

PJ Riner, an information systems major, is the lone senior on the team. He finished the weekend five strokes over par. He said he knows what he needs to do to improve his game.

“I thought it was a good first tournament back,” said Riner. “My ball striking was there, [but] my putting [game] was a little shaky.”

Riner said he also understands the struggle of balancing athletics with academics like Lindsley. He wants to set an example for the younger players on the team since traveling for sports makes studying difficult. Loyola Athletic Department said that the department has a cumulative team GPA greater than 3.2.

Both teams will see action later this month. The women’s team will host Loyola’s Fall Invitational on Sept. 21 and 22; the men’s team will travel down the Purple Line to Glencoe, Illinois for the for Northwestern University’s Windon Memorial at the Lake Shore Country Club.

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