GVSU wins AMFAM Spring Invitational
First-year coach Gary Bissell is hoping to instill a winner's mentality in the Grand Valley State men's golf program.
“Some coaches try to breed competitiveness,” Bissell said. “At the end of the day I think that competitiveness is something within you. Someone possesses it or they don’t. I think our guys are that competitive and that’s why we’re successful.”
GVSU was three strokes out of first place entering day two of the AMFAM Spring Invitational. After a few encouraging words from Bissell, freshman Domenic Mancinelli put his competitive drive on full display.
Mancinelli posted a 4-under 68 score on Monday, the best day-two score in the 96-player field, to propel GVSU ahead for the three-stroke victory. The Lakers carded a 20-over 596 in the two-day tournament, besting Indianapolis (599), Maryville (600) and Ferris State (608), respectively.
Senior Jack Rider and junior Tyler Polulak led the way for GVSU, finishing in a five-way tie for fourth place with matching 3-over 147s. It was Rider's third top-five finish of the 2014-15 campaign.
Mancinelli's impressive day-two performance was good enough for a 4-over 148 (ninth place).
“The team played well and I think the competition makes it better for us in the long run,” Mancinelli said. “A few words of encouragement on the range from the seniors helps us keep a steady ship.”
The victory is the second of the season for the Lakers.
Since day one, Bissell has welcomed competitiveness within the program. And for golfers like Rider, pushing one another comes natural -- it keeps them from becoming complacent.
“The competition is nice and something to strive for,” Rider said. “A lot of the team’s success derives from the talent on the team and the classic mentality of not wanting to get beat.”
Rider also said the team is nowhere near where they want to be, and they have a lot they can improve upon.
Only the top three of the 20 teams that make it to super regionals get a shot at nationals. For GVSU, making the necessary adjustments and keeping cool will be key.
The pressure of competing for a super-regional berth to secure a spot at nationals has served as a catalyst for improvement both mentally and physically for the team, but pressure is nothing new to the Lakers. After all, learning to control it helped them take home the AMFAM Spring Invitational.
“We handled it well,” Rider said. “And this team wants to win more than anything.”