Teeing Off Toward a Title

natalie roth
FILE PHOTO | THE SPECTRUM
Sophomore Natalie Roth played at the Fall Kickoff Tournament at the Fargo Country Club.

With spring coming into full swing, it is only natural for the Bison golf teams to start the search for titles. Both the North Dakota State men’s and women’s teams have begun its spring seasons, as the lead up to the Summit League Championship begins.

On the women’s side, the spring season started in the best possible way. With the frost barely off the clubs, the Bison took a trip into the golf weather part of the country and took a win at the Grand Canyon University Spring Invitational in Phoenix back in late February. The team was led by freshman Emma Groom, who tied for fourth with a 227, which was 14-over par during the three rounds. Overall, the Bison defeated runners-up Portland State by three strokes and conference rivals South Dakota State by four.

The Bison had two more tournaments since then, finishing fourth in the Southern Utah University Pizza Hut Lady Thunderbird Invitational and 11th in the ORU/SFA Spring Break Invitational last week.

Going forward, the women will play in the Gary Crossley Ford KC Shootout before heading into the Summit League Tournament. The team has high expectations going into the latter part of the season. Head coach Matt Johnson said that the team is capable to win the conference.

“We have played all of the top teams in the conference, and we have beaten them, and they have beaten us,” Johnson said.

The key going forward is going to be getting consistency. This was echoed by senior Hailey Boner.

“We all have stuff that we can work on. Personally for me, it’s putting, she said.

Johnson said each player has something that they can do to improve consistency, whether it is putting, mid-range shot or the short game. If they can get to a point of a high level of play, a conference championship is within reach.

For the men, the season got off to a soggy start at the Atchafalaya Intercollegiate in Louisiana back in February. After sitting in sixth place after the opening round, rain soaked the course and play was suspended. Opening day results were the only ones counted. The team then went to Dallas for the Bob Sitton Invitational, where they finished 16th. For the tournament, the Bison were led by Alex Lobeck’s 15-over-par 228 at the TPC Four Seasons.

The Bison have two more tournaments before the Summit League Tournament, starting with the UC Irvine Anteater Invitational next week in California. After that, there will be one more tune-up at the Oral Roberts University Shootout in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bison men’s head coach Steve Kennedy said his team is on the right track.

“We are getting better,” Kennedy said. “The guys just need to eliminate some mistakes that lead to double- and triple-bogey.”

The Bison have played some Summit League foes, having beat SDSU and Omaha down in Louisiana, and keeping near Oral Roberts in Texas. Sophomore Keaton Lausch said consistency will be key.

“We are all hitting good shots, we are all hitting bad shots, it’s just trying to eliminate the super high numbers and getting everything consistent,” Lausch said.

With two more outings to go, confidence will be a large factor in seeing if this team makes a run at the conference championship.

“It’s going to take everyone coming together as a team and everyone shooting consistent scores and playing solid golf,” if the Bison are to bring home the crown, Lausch said.

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