Under the helm of an experienced group of seniors, the Augustana men’s golf team teed off the 2017 season last week with the intention to contend in the NSIC.
The Vikings began the fall portion of their season at the Central Missouri Invite, where they faced a tough field from the NCAA Central Region. The team tied for 15th place.
The team looks to improve its fifth place finish at the NSIC Championship last spring.
In his third year of coaching, Coach Danny Sinksen returns a majority of the line-up from last year, including seniors Parker Klitzke and Ted Urch.
Klitzke was selected as the NSIC Golfer of the Year after a successful spring campaign, featuring an NSIC individual title and a commanding performance at the NCAA Super Regional where he placed third, shooting 14-under par, just one stroke shy of advancing to the NCAA Division II National Championship.
Klitzke was named First Team All-NSIC, produced seven top-five finishes and had a scoring average of 72.
Urch posted a scoring average of 77, with four top-15 finishes last year.
Klitzke and Urch are showing no signs of stopping their stellar play. The duo finished tied for 14th at eight-over-par last week at the Central Missouri Invite.
“Not only are they [Klitzke and Urch] the best players, but just great leaders, showing the other guys what it takes to be there,” Sinksen said. “I am excited to have them be able to teach other players, as well. I’m here doing what I can, but it’s great to have leaders to show them what it takes to be at the top.”
“Ted and I are going out, trying to work hard and instill that same mindset in them,” Klitzke said. “I think everyone else is noticing and doing the same. I’ve been really happy with how everyone is working in practice.”
Junior Carter Kranz and freshman Sam Mock will look to round out the lineup and provide the consistent third and fourth scores the team needs to propel to the top, Sinksen said.
“I think last year we struggled getting four scores in the 70s,” Klitzke said. “For us this year, that’s one of the goals we have —consistently have our best four scores to be in the 70s. On top of that, as a team, we are going to put a bigger emphasis on playing well at the conference tournament … we would just really like to be able to extend our season past conference and regular season.”
To reach its goals, the team believes a mix of hard work, experience and confidence will seal the deal.
“We just need to play with more confidence,” Urch said. “I think we will get there, we just need to work hard at practice and it will come … as we start to play some more tournaments. I think the team will pick up some more confidence.”
“I think it’s just cleaning up all the aspects,” Sinksen said. “We are just making too many little mistakes that lead to extra strokes here and there. When we start cutting one or two strokes off a round, then we can really get to the spot where we want to be.”
The Vikings’ next tournament will be at the J.R. Watkins Invite on September 25-26 in Lake City, Minnesota.
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