The men’s golf team members tucked an important win under their belts at the UMHB Spring Invitational, the first tournament of the 2009 season. The first place prize was an especially exciting one for men’s golf coach, Aaron Rodeffer, because it was his initial win as a college coach.
“The most special moment … was (when) it was coming down to the wire, and the score cards were coming in. I thought we had shot ourselves out of it,” Rodeffer said. “As I was taking up the score cards to the sports information director, Jon Wallin, … he said, ‘Congratulations on your first win.’ I didn’t think we’d won it.”
The men beat their top competitors, finishing two shots under Baylor University and five under McMurry University on the Cru home course at Wildflower Country Club in Temple.
Freshman Mike McQuaid played consistent despite the windy conditions. He shot 79 Monday and 80 Tuesday, putting his name eleventh on the top 20 players leader board.
“(On) our team, it’s so hard to qualify top five … and so just to have my score counted both days, it meant a lot,” McQuaid said. “Then to win was even better. Just to have a hand in helping our team win was a great feeling.”
Head Coach Rodeffer was impressed.
“For a freshman coming in to realize they could potentially contribute to the top five and make a difference is a great opportunity for them, but the fact that they’re able to do it says a lot about them,” he said.
Senior Davis Dewald also made it to the leader board. He finished third by individual score with a 154 two-day total.
Junior math major Joel Kelley didn’t play as well as he’d hoped due to illness, but knows there’s more that can keep players from the game.
Kelley said, “You have to maintain some sort of decency on the course. More importantly than the rules, we represent UMHB, our coach, our families and ourselves, so given all that, we have to maintain a level of decency that’s high and just displays … our character.”
On the course, emotions run high and frustrations can distract a player’s focus.
“Golf is certainly a sport that plays with your emotions,” Kelley said. “It’s like women.”
The Cru men were snowed out of the Callaway Collegiate Invitational Golf Tournament in Georgia, but are playing a tournament in Concan, Texas, through March 9-10.
Coach Darla Kirby, who led the women’s team to win the national tournament in 2000 and four national runner-up finishes since was a little disappointed. The women’s team finished seventh at the UMHB Spring Invitational.
Kirby said, “Sometimes when you have a bad hole, unless you really focus, it can continue to the next hole and the next hole. I think that happened to us a little bit.”
Sophomore Kathryne Lozano said advice from Kirby has helped improve her game.
“(Coach) is like you can’t carry the world on your shoulders. One day everything will fall into place. Bad things will happen, and until then you just got to deal with it.”
Sophomore Allison Williams said, “You can’t help the breaks you get from the ground, you just got to keep playing and … do what you can do.”
Kirby prepares the team for the challenges they face from a ball that easily has a bad bounce.
“That’s where my emphasis will be, is the mental side of the game, before we play again,” she said.
The women hope to improve their season one tournament at a time.
“This is a determined group,” Kirby said. “They want to win the conference championship. We’ve been close the last two years and won it seven times prior.”