Photo by J. Alan Paul Photography
Not much went right for the Bison men’s golf team a little less than a year ago. Prior to the beginning of the fall tournament schedule, its lone senior got injured and one of their two junior college transfers left the program due to factors that didn’t involve the team or NDSU in any way. It was a string of bad luck that NDSU couldn’t afford with an uphill battle already in place. NDSU fired its way through the spring and finished three spots higher in the Summit League than the preseason projections estimated. Now, Steve Kennedy and the crew are looking to keep the momentum going.
Wide Open Race In Summit League
After finishing sixth in the Summit League last season, the popular sediment around the men’s golf team was more positive than you think. Of the five golfers NDSU sent to the Championship tournament, every participant will return this season. Nick Myhre was the top finisher for the Bison in the tournament and will return for his junior season along with the lone senior from last year’s team, Connor Holland, after redshirting due to an injury in 2015- 16.
“I thought our guys really grew together,” head coach Steve Kennedy said. “I thought they became more of a team as we went along. They really gelled as far as friendships and (being) willing to play for each other.”
Top three golfers Myhre, Keaton Lausch and Alex Lobeck all averaged a 76 per round last year. And with the addition of Holland, who averaged a career-best 76.13 in 2014-15, the core of the team will put NDSU in a position to succeed this fall.
Kennedy said it helps that all four have played really well this summer. Holland finished second in the NDGA Stroke Play Championship Open this July. Incoming freshman Andrew Isrealson won the Minnesota State Boy’s Class 2A championship in 2014 and won 20 more tournaments while at Staples-Motley High School.
“They’ve just been playing really well,” Kennedy said. “Keaton Lausch has had a good summer. Nick has had a good summer. Like I said, we’re excited to get the season going in the fall.”
Kennedy attributes the growth of his players partially because of the new short game facility that opened for the men’s and women’s golf teams last winter. The facility allowed the team to focus on every different variation of putts they could face during tournaments. It also helped them tremendously with their chipping, Kennedy said.
“They have keys (to the facility) also so they can get in and they go in on their own during their own time,” Kennedy said. “They have competitions over there. The loser has to lift more weights during weight training and things like that. They just challenge each other.”
The Bison will begin their season at the UNO Invitational in Nebraska City, Neb. It’s a tournament NDSU should expect to do really well in or even win, Kennedy said. The Summit League is wide open this year and is essentially a nine-team race.
In the meantime, you can check out a handful of the Bison golfers later this summer. Most of them will play in the Pine to Palm Golf Tournament in Detroit Lakes, Minn., the second week in August. At the end of the month, the entire team will be at the Bobcat North Dakota Open played at the Fargo Country Club, NDSU’s home course.