Golf returns to action at the Pioneer Invitational

Courtesy of LC Athletics

Rain and mud did not stopthe golf teams frompersevering

By John Trupin /// Staff Writer

 The Pioneer Men’s and Women’s Golf teams battled their way through powerful winds and rain at the Lewis & Clark Pioneer Invitational at Heron Lakes Golf Club here in Portland. While many Lewis & Clark students were staying high and dry on the hill, the golf teams ventured out Saturday to test themselves against their conference foes and Mother Nature.

“The weather was about perfect leading up to the tourney,” said golfer Claire Burke (’17), whose 84 was good enough for a share of 9th place. As such, the team was “not too happy with our scores, but there were not many low scores in the field anyways.”

The Pios persevered, putting up competitive scores from top to bottom, with all four players scoring in the top 12 of the tournament, led by an 82 and a sixth place finish from Arielle Valdez (’17).

As a unit, their scores were good enough for second place in the tournament, an impressive showing for the young squad consisting of only sophomores. Burke felt confident about her team’s performance and felt that “we could’ve caught up to first if we were to have played Sunday.” Still, the impressive play of the team is exciting going forward.

The men’s team faced a similar challenge. The course was, as both teams described, sloppy and challenging. “The ball would stick in the mud when it landed because the grass was so soaked,” said Drake Gilliland (’17), who shot a 91 on the day, “the bunkers were compacted sand and had puddles … the water made the ball roll slower [on the greens] when you hit it. It was tough for everyone.”

The conditions made even gripping the club a challenge, but by adjusting strategy and playing smart, the Pioneers forged ahead. Desmond Maisel (’16) told himself he was “not going to three putt” and kept his shots low so as to keep it out of the wind. His determination paid off, as Maisel led with a score of 79 and a tie for seventh place.

The team placed seventh with a total score of 355, but Gilliland reaffirmed that this weekend was an important step forward and the improvements are visible. Both teams have reason for optimism, as their rosters are devoid of seniors, and will undoubtedly grow stronger as the season goes on continuing into next year.

In addition to the confidence both teams gained from the weekend, each team is undoubtedly enthusiastic to spend their break playing golf in significantly drier states.

The Women’s team will next hit the links during the tail end of spring break as they travel south to the University of California Santa Cruz Spring Invitational from March 27-29. The Men will take a trip this upcoming weekend to the University of Texas-Dallas Spring Classic from March 22-24.

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