The West Chester University men’s golf team opened the fall season finishing fourth of 14 at the Senator Shootout in West Virginia early this week. Co-Captains Griffith Basehore and Connor Lefever both had strong outings, shooting a 68 and 72 (par) respectively. Basehore’s round was the best of his collegiate career. However, the tournament requires the counting of four of the five team members, resulting in the team shooting a 298 on Monday and a 303 on Tuesday. Indiana University of Pennsylvania won the contest with a combined total of 583.
This was the first outing of a busy fall season for the golfers. The team will attend tournaments every weekend in September. During this stretch, they will spend countless hours traveling to three different states. The golfers will then compete in the PSAC Championships held at Hershey, Pa., in late October.
Coach Hammond downplayed the idea that the golfers were simply knocking the rust off in the Senator Shootout.
“Most of the team members competed in tournaments during the summer and that allowed them to come to school ready to play,” Hammond said. “Since I lost no one from the team from graduation, they are more seasoned from last year and I expect them to have a great fall.”
Rainy weather in Morgantown, W. Va., may have served as an obstacle to all golfers in the two day tournament. Although it did not rain often during play, the conditions were not ideal.
“The rain had made playing conditions very difficult and the golf course played longer than it’s listed, which is 6,760 yards,” Coach Harry Hammond said.
Despite the disappointing finish, Coach Hammond was extremely pleased with the play of both his captains and has high expectations for the team this fall. The fall season is crucial for the team to put themselves in a strong position for the spring.
Since being in the NCAA regional tournament has become the par for WCU, Hammond understands the team needs to improve.
“Both players (Basehore and Lefever) are very capable of leading this team to a successful fall season,” Hammond said. “The fall season is important for us to finish in the top ten in the NCAA Atlantic region and then maintain that position during the spring events.
“The team has made it to the NCAA Regional tournament the last two years and my goal is for them to finish in the top three at that tournament, which would then allow them to be invited to the NCAA D-2 National tournament in May.”
In the meantime, Hammond has a firm grasp on what the team will need to improve upon to be more successful next week.
“In reviewing their performance at the Senator Shootout, it is obvious that mid-iron play needs to be better, so the focus will be practice and play with irons only in preparing for the Hal Hanson.”
Up next for the team will be the Hal Hanson Invitational, which will take place in Clarion, Pa., on Sept. 10. Hammond will use the same five players from the Senator Shootout for this tournament.
Justin Park is a fifth-year student majoring in communication studies with a psychology minor . He can be reached at JP727711@wcupa.edu.