GVSU finishes 11th at Dave Falconer Classic

Young players lead as Lakers face top notch competition

By Brendan McMahon | 3/13/16 11:32pm

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GVL / Kevin Sielaff Alex Scott lines up his shot Friday, August 28th, 2015.

by Kevin Sielaff / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State men’s golf team began its spring season with an 11th-place finish, shooting a 599 (+23), in Arkansas at the Dave Falconer Classic on March 7-8.

The Lakers found themselves tied for ninth place after the first day of the tournament, shooting a 297 (+9). They took a short step back, adding a few strokes on day two and dropping a couple of positions on the leaderboard.

The Dave Falconer Classic did not lack competition. The tournament consisted of 21 primarily southern teams, which are able to practice on grass all throughout the winter. The tournament likely featured some of the toughest competition GVSU will see all spring.

“That was the purpose of this tournament,” said GVSU head coach Gary Bissell. “It threw us into the fire and hopefully now we respond correctly.”

The course itself was another challenge for GVSU. The Chamberlyn Country Club has Bermuda grass, commonly used in southern courses, which was unfamiliar to the Lakers.

"We struggled pitching and chipping," said sophomore Domenic Mancinelli. "We lost several pretty easy pitch shots just not being used to the grass.”

The results may not have been what the Lakers would have liked, but the tournament was still valuable.

“We didn’t play well, but we got two rounds under our belt after a four month layoff," Bissell said. “We’re basically trying to knock the rust off.”

Macinelli did not look rusty as he led the Lakers with a 149 (+5). Freshman Bryce Messner picked up right where he left off from the fall season, and was the second scorer for the Lakers with a 149 (+5) of his own. Freshman Mitchell White scored third as the underclassmen played an important role for the Lakers in the tournament.

“Our young guys deserve a lot of credit,” Bissell said. “We definitely need our upperclassmen to step up.”

Although Bissell likes to see strong performances from underclassmen, he wants to see his older golfers compete and lead. It can be challenging winning without experienced leaders at the forefront.

“There’s no added pressure to perform (as underclassmen), we’re all really supportive of each other," Messner said.

The tournament was a good way for the Lakers to measure where they stack up against quality competition. With over two months until postseason play, time is no issue. Regardless, Bissell is adamant his Lakers improve every day.

With the GLIAC South Invitational in a couple of weeks, the Lakers are eyeing a morale booster.

“It would be huge for our confidence to get back on track and win the GLIAC South Invitational," Bissell said.

Bissell’s goal for the Lakers is to win all three GLIAC events this season. They already won the GLIAC North Invitational earlier in the fall season, the South Invitational is upcoming and the GLIAC Championship rolls around later in the year. The momentum of winning those events is crucial in postseason play.

The Lakers travel to Lexington, Kentucky for the GLIAC South Invitational beginning on March 25 at the Andover Country Club.

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