Men’s Golf competes in Augustana-Rock Island Invitational

The Luther Golf team poses after winning the Simpson tournament earlier in the season.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Betts (‘17)

The Luther Golf team poses after winning the Simpson tournament earlier in the season.

Shannon Baker, Staff Writer

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The Luther Men’s Golf team participated in the Augustana-Rock Island Invitational at the Fyre Lake Golf Club in Sherrard, IL, on April 14-15. Twenty-one teams competed in the event with Luther coming in seventh overall with a score of 619.

After winning the Simpson tournament at the Indianola Country Club on April 10-11, the Luther Men’s Golf team faced more demanding conditions at the windy Augustana competition, according to Head Men’s Golf Coach Scott Fjelstul (‘83).

“The weather was a factor for us at times, but every day we play is a good learning experience,” Fjelstul said. “It was a very good competition on a very good golf course, which will help us moving forward this spring.”

Andrew Betts (‘17) acknowledged the tough conditions of the Augustana meet, commenting on the Fyre Lake Golf Club’s course’s long holes compared to the smaller Oneota course on which the team is accustomed to practicing. According to Betts, the Augustana performances will generate success in the long run despite playing on a different field and not achieving the same outcome as the Simpson tournament.

“We didn’t play the greatest, but it’s positive to see that even our ‘bad’ rounds can still turn out to be alright,” Betts said. “We beat a couple of conference teams there too, which is a good outlook for the future.”

Moving forward, the first part of the IIAC Golf Championships will take place at the Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, IA, on April 28-29. The top five Luther team members will participate in the event, playing the first 36 holes that weekend. The players will shoot the final 36 holes of the IIAC Championships at the Indianola Country Club in Indianola, IA, on May 5-6.

Fjelstul expects the Championships to be a fun and positive experience for his team.

“We have a good enough team to go to the tournament, relax, and play confident golf,” Fjelstul said. “The conference [championships] are always fun, but it still boils down to an individual hole and an individual day. We have to take it one hole at a time.”

Britt Vander Linden (‘17) hopes his team will be able to use their experience at Augustana to improve the team’s cohesiveness for the upcoming IIAC Championships.

“As a team, we just need to all pull together good rounds at the same time instead of one person shooting well while a couple of other people shoot poorly,” Vander Linden said. “Consistency is the key to that. The Augustana tournament was good practice because the competition was tough and we play some tough courses in conference.”

The heavy time commitment that comes with shooting 72 holes in two weekends is nothing new to the Luther Golf team. Unlike most other Luther sports teams, golf is in-season during both the fall and spring, which means a lot of time is dedicated to practice and tournaments, according to Vander Linden.

“It’s a bit of a time crunch to play all year, because in both semesters we are gone frequently,” Vander Linden said. “If you qualify for every tournament you are gone about five to six weekends [per semester], and practices during the week can last upwards of five hours per day.”

Despite the demanding schedule, Betts feels his teammates have been instrumental in making his time on the golf team worthwhile.

“It helps being with a group of guys who really enjoy the game and who you can lean on for support when you really need it,” Betts said. “The guys on the golf team are definitely my closest friends, and [they’ve] made my experience here so much better.”

Fjelstul believes his players’ commitment to the team and their sport is unparalleled.

“[Golf] is so different than a lot of other sports with two-hour practices. Sometimes [my] players have to stay home because of academic requirements, but they manage their time very well,” Fjelstul said. “They work very, very hard, and I am so proud of them.”

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