Coach and players prepared and motivated
The North Dakota State University men’s golf team, coming off a largely successful spring season, tackles the final task of their 2022-23 season this weekend, the Summit League Championship Tournament. While it has been a year since last season’s edition of the Summit championships, the way it ended has not been forgotten. NDSU Head Coach Steve Kennedy, wrapping up his 10th season at the helm, says finishing in second by one stroke at last year’s event has stuck. Just one stroke…
“One of the things that makes a team closer is tough losses,” Kennedy said. “Last year, we had that tough loss by one shot at conference. These guys have that ability to draw on one another. Our team is so close, I’ve never seen a team as close as this one. I think they are going to play well for each other and that, in the end, is going to come through for us.”
The bright spot of the ’22 tournament was that NDSU’s Nate Deziel brought home medalist honors finishing with a Summit League Championship and NDSU 54-hole record score of 203 (-13). Deziel’s memory works fine as well, and he remembers the mixed emotions that went with his victory and the team’s one-stroke “defeat.”
“Yeah, it’s a very motivating factor,” Deziel admitted. “Last year, on the car ride home, we talked about it. We went through the rounds and said, ‘One shot, man…just one single shot.’ It’s going to come down to that again. Last year is a reminder that we have to stay in on every shot.”
Deziel has struggled somewhat this spring and is working hard to get himself ready to defend his title. While there has not been anything in particular about his game that is at issue, putting himself in a position to make that big shot at a crucial time has been challenging this spring.
“I have definitely not been playing up to my standard, not where I want to be,” Deziel explained. “You gotta’ stay focused and believe that the small things that you work on are going to click one day. Golf can be a frustrating sport.”
Arguably the brightest spot for the Herd this spring has been the play of Nate Adams. Adams has one solo win and another tie for first place this spring, winning at the Gulf Coast University (GCU) Invite and was the co-winner at last week’s Redhawk Intercollegiate. At the GCU, Adams shot a blistering thirteen under par 200 for his second win of the season.
NDSU golfer Nate Adams was named the TicketSmarter Summit League’s Peak Golfer of the Week for the week of April 9th, 2023. Adams and his Bison teammates will compete in the Summit League Championships this weekend in Lincoln, Neb. Photo Courtesy | Zach Lucy
“It has really been a lot of fun. I’ve been staying really patient with myself and leaving myself in good positions to make the lowest score possible,” Adams said. “I’ve been trying to eliminate one side of the golf course as best I can by focusing on one shot type regardless of the club I’m playing.”
The most consistent player for the men has been Brock Winter. Going back to the ODU/OBX Invitational last October, Winter has never finished out of the top 15 in any tournament in which he has competed. Back in February, Winter was the co-medalist at The Savannah Intercollegiate shooting back-to-back 67s to finish with a 7 under 209.
As far as this weekend’s tournament goes, everyone feels like this Bison squad is primed and ready to go.
“This is going to be a three or four-team tournament and I like our chances where we are,” Kennedy said. “We’ve played some tough competition this spring, we’ve played some tough course and I think we’ll be on a course that fits us just fine…we’ll be fine.”
“I think we’re going to be good. We’ve struggled a little bit based on our standards, but I think that is good,” Adams admitted. “We are not too high right now and we don’t think we are a lock to win, and that is good. That will keep us sharp, and we are going to have to play really hard. We are deeper than a lot of the other teams.”
The 2023 Summit League Championship Tournament will consist of three rounds and start on Sunday, April 30th at Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln. The first groupings are scheduled to tee off at 9:20 a.m. You can follow the Bison at golfstat.com