Parkland golf team celebrates first tournament victory
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 17:09
As the fall season continues on, the Parkland College golf team keeps heating up. They began their season at a very tough venue, Rend Lake College, at their annual Rend Lake Fall Preview on Friday, Aug. 24.
This was one tournament in which the team did not do particularly well last season. Returning seven players from last year and gaining six solid freshmen is a source of hope for this team, though.
One of the reasons the Cobras struggle at the Fall Preview tournament is the amount of competition in the field. John A. Logan College, who won two out of the last four National Junior College Athletic Association championships, and Rend Lake, who hosts the tournament were among those struggles.
Both are perennial powerhouses, who seem to always be on the winning side of junior college golf. Beating both of them in one day has to be a confidence booster for this Parkland golf team.
“Last year, we didn’t come close to beating either John A. Logan or Rend Lake, so it was good to beat them,” sophomore David Keenan explained.
Freshmen Lyle Burns remarked, “It motivates me. It gives us a little push. I don’t want other teams to think it’s a fluke that we played well.”
Head Coach Zach McNabney was asked whether a big tournament win like this adds to motivation. He replied, “To a certain degree, yes. Based on the competition we played, the team should feel good beating perennial powerhouses, John A. Logan and Rend Lake. They should be motivated to prove that the win wasn’t a fluke.”
The whole team should indeed be motivated. With a strong showing from Keenan, who shot a 75 his first round and posted a score of 67 during his second round. These scores not only earned him second place individually, but gave his teammates a much needed boost.
Parkland finished the first round with a total score of 298, putting them in a tie for first place with John A. Logan. Rend Lake was one shot back going into the next round. The next round favored not only Keenan, but the whole team as well.
Burns and freshman Drew Heffley struggled during their second rounds, shooting 77 and 85 respectively. The rest of the team’s scores improved greatly. Austin Egbers fired a 71, Brady Welsh shot 73, Jonathan Dawson shot 76 and Daniel Patkunas contributed with a 77.
Everyone contributed to the win as the second round came to a total score of 287, a very impressive score considering how many holes they played in one day. The Cobras edged out John A. Logan by three strokes and Rend Lake by six, giving them a win in their first tournament of the year.
The freshmen stood out in their first collegiate golf event. They handled the pressure of the competition and mastered their nerves in an unfamiliar setting. A 70-77 start from Burns and a 79-71 from Egbers really showed that this team means business.
When asked about the freshmen and their performance, McNabney responded, “I was impressed with what they did. None of the freshmen had played that course. Lyle shot 70 the first round, but struggled on the next eighteen shooting 77 and Austin shot 79-71 on his two eighteen hole rounds. Some of these guys never played 36 holes in one day, so I was impressed with their performance.”
Burns explained, “I think we were all nervous getting into it, but once we all were a few holes in we figured it was just like high school golf. There was a lot of pressure though, because of all the competition and we wanted to play well.”
Getting assistance from freshmen is extremely helpful. They can gives a lot of support, and it helps knowing that if one player does not play that well, someone can post a number and help the team win.
This was a major win for this Cobra golf team going into their future. They gain a lot of confidence going into next weekend’s Illinois Valley Community College Invitational, held Sept. 14 and 15. Entering the tournament on a high note increases the Cobras’ hopes of performing competitively during the two day tournament.
As the season progresses, this Cobra team not only looks to the future, but understands that the talent is there and they can make something out of this season.
“The main key is building from tournament to tournament. Austin didn’t win individually, but learned a lot from an experience point of view. I think the fall is a building experience for the spring, where we have conference and regionals. Overall, I think we have a lot of potential and it’s in their hands to prove their abilities,” McNabey said.
When asked about his hopes for the remainder of the season, Keenan responded, “We have thirteen guys on our team, so I hope we push each other and continue to get better. I hope everyone stays motivated and pushes to be in the top five.”
“I hope we continue to get better, we have the talent and the depth. After a big win at our first tournament, we are going to try and not get ahead of ourselves, but stay humble and positive,” Burns remarked.
It is one thing to be motivated, but being humble after a big win is something that is out of the ordinary in any sport today. Real confidence allows a competitor to prove that by not being arrogant, but letting their skills do the talking.