The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

    Players fight youth, winter rust

    After competing three consecutive weeks at locations many would consider vacation spots, the DePaul golf team returned to Lincoln Park for a weekend off.The Blue Demons started their spring season by finishing 1-2 at The Match Play in Tampa, Fla., with a tiebreaker loss to Xavier and win over Cincinnati. DePaul next traveled to Oaktie, S.C. for a single match against Ohio University, which they won 4.0-1.0.

    Despite maintaining a seventh-place spot after the first two rounds on Feb. 21 at the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate in Hilton Head, S.C., DePaul fell to 12th out of 14 after the final 18 holes the next day.

    “It’s a course that is very tight and it was playing fast and firm, which makes it a little tougher,” said Head Coach Betty Kaufmann. “It’s not an excuse, but it’s also a course that, if you make a bad swing, you can make a high number very quickly.”

    While recovering from a bad stroke can be relatively easy for the experienced golfers, regaining ground, particularly for the freshmen, can be more difficult.

    “If it happens when you’re seasoned a little bit, your frustration level is a little bit better controlled,” Kaufmann said. “Early on I think a little bit of frustration in a couple of the players keyed up and you lose a little confidence.”

    The two freshmen currently traveling with the team, Moritz Ackerhans and Maximillian Mayer, started off well, according to Kaufmann, but had a few bad holes each that killed their game. Mayer and five others finished in 37th with a three-round total of 230 (+14). Ackerhans completed the invitational 18-over with a score of 234. Both tallied their highest scores the second day of the tournament.

    The freshmen were not the only ones to struggle, as Charles Boucher, senior, Russell Budd, sophomore, and Ben Westley, junior, found themselves looking to come back from behind and make up some strokes, said Kaufmann. Boucher tied for 45th with a score of 232 (+16), while Budd landed in a 71st place tie.

    “You need birdies when you make the mistakes and at this time of the year we’ll make birdies, but it’s tough on that course,” said Kaufmann. “Even par was a pretty good number, a very good number on that course.”

    Up next on the Blue Demons’ tour of the South? The USF Invitational in Dade City, Fla. on March 4-6.

    Budd, Boucher and Westley, who led the Blue Demons in Hilton Head, finishing in 26th place with a tournament total of 227 (+11), have previously played the course.

    “[The USF course has] much wider fairways,” Westley said. “And you can actually hit driver on a lot of the holes, whereas at Wexford.I think I hit ten drivers over three rounds.”

    Although the team does not have any set goals in terms of scores, they are looking to improve on past performances.

    “You just, as an overall performance, you’d like to improve on what you’ve done in the past,” Westley said. “I think that we’re capable of doing that. I think the freshmen will do well on the course as well, even though they haven’t seen it.”

    Both a leader on and off the course, Westley has made a point to set an example in practice for the freshmen.

    “As a freshman a lot of your practice tendencies and your practice routine isn’t really very refined. You come in and you kind of just hit balls a lot of the times,” Westley said. “And really practice, you need to be just as focused as you are on the golf course, otherwise you’re not being very productive. So I try to, I guess, lead in that way. Practice the way that I think you should practice and hopefully they’ll follow that lead.”

    Another part of development for the younger golfers is learning to remain mentally tough and maintaining a strong game, even on an off day.

    “Golf is a game of, you know, you’re on and you’re off and what we, I think, as a team have to do is really just get better when we’re off of really trying to bring it into competitive numbers,” Kaufmann said. “That’s eliminating mistakes or when you do make a mistake, eliminating, taking the big number out of play and I think at this time of the year it’s harder to do than in summertime because we’re still rusty. So it’s a fine line of ‘Is this a great shot?’ In summer you could probably pull it off but at this time of the year it’s a little bit more difficult.”

    Westley had similar thoughts, adding, “Everyone can shoot well when they’re playing well.but what really makes you successful is being able to shoot well when you’re not playing well. That’s where we need to improve and I think we’ll be able to do that at USF.