GVSU men's golf captures GLIAC championship
Lakers redeem themselves after losing GLIAC championship by one stroke to Tiffin last year.
The Grand Valley State men’s golf team won the GLIAC Championship by a large margin, shooting an 890 (+26) at the Virtues Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio, Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23.
Winning this GLIAC title breaks a five-year drought for the Lakers, who have come close in previous years but have fallen just short. Last year, the Lakers lost the GLIAC Championship by only one stroke to Tiffin.
That bitter defeat from last season would be all the motivation the Lakers' golfers needed to play well this time around.
“We knew we should have won last year, so we knew we were going to win this year,” said sophomore Bryce Messner.
The Lakers shot a 299 (+11) on day one, putting them in second place to Ferris State by only four strokes.
“You can’t win a tournament on the first day, but you can for sure lose it,” said sophomore Alex Scott.
The Lakers were satisfied with the position they were in following round one after they adopted a 'round-by-round' mentality before entering this tournament. The approach of playing in the moment rather than looking ahead kept the Lakers levelheaded.
“We just took it one day at a time, and our goal was to win every day," said junior Domenic Mancinelli. "We went down after round one, but we just stuck to the plan, and it worked out well for us."
While the Lakers were down after round one, they were in exactly the position they wanted to be in order to move up the leader board in rounds two and three.
“There weren’t many nerves (heading into rounds two and three)," Scott said. "We had a bad first day as (a) team, but we knew that only being down a few strokes was no big deal."
After getting comfortable with the course and losing the first-round nerves, the Lakers claimed the lead on day two by shooting a 294 (+6). Mancinelli led the way for the Lakers in round two, shooting a 72 (E).
Going into day three with a two-stroke lead, the Lakers were confident that their preparation would be the difference in the outcome.
“Once you get to the tournament, you can force to do this or force to do that," Scott said. "You got to accept the fact you prepared for the event, and you have to accept what happens. (We) put in the work, we put in the hours and we knew it would pay off."
There was nothing that could phase the Lakers on day three, as GVSU came mentally prepared for the pressure of the final round.
“We knew we were the most prepared team in the field," Mancinelli said. "We came out and stuck to the plan, stayed committed and didn’t let anything bother us this year."
Led by Scott, who shot a 71 (-1), the Lakers collectively shot a 297 (+9), winning the day for the second day in a row. By the end of the tournament, the Lakers had an 11-stroke lead over second-place Ferris State, which was the only other team ever realistically in contention.
Three Laker golfers scored inside the top six individually for the tournament: Scott, Mancinelli and Messner, who finished tied for second place.
The Lakers have finished celebrating the GLIAC championship and have focused all their attention on the upcoming 2017 NCAA Division II Midwest/Central Regional. Last year, the Lakers fell short of qualifying for nationals, but they are confident this year will be different.
The regional will take place in Axtell, Nebraska, Monday, May 8, through Wednesday, May 10.