Monday, May 20, 2024

Mens golf to host only home meet

April 26, 2001
General management senior Nathan Clark, a member of the MSU men’s golf team, practices Wednesday at Forest Akers West Golf Course. The players were practicing for their home invitational this weekend.

Thanks to the MSU men’s golf team, it will be a little harder to get tee times at Forest Akers West Golf Course this weekend.

The Spartans will host the Bruce Fossum/TeamGearOnline.com Invitational on Saturday and Sunday, which will be their only home tournament of the season.

Given their home-course advantage, the team has high expectations entering the weekend.

“I set a goal that we want to win our home tournament,” head coach Mark Hankins said. “It’s the biggest home advantage in sports, having your home golf course.”

Despite the advantages, Hankins said playing at home can also mean having distractions, such as players golfing in front of their families, and having a letdown knowing they’re in familiar territory.

“It can cause a lot of pressure too because you expect to do well on your home track and you lose respect for a really hard golf course such as Forest Akers,” he said.

Senior co-captain Dennis Riedel said he doesn’t think playing at home will have any negative effects on the squad.

“Being on your home course, you’re a lot more comfortable, you know the course, and I think you have a lot more confidence playing out here because you play it all the time,” he said.

Fellow senior co-captain Brent Goik said course knowledge will be a huge factor on the Spartans side this weekend.

“We play this course day in and day out, and it’s one of the harder courses that we play,” he said. “It’s definitely an advantage.”

Hankins said opposing teams that may not be familiar with Forest Akers may have problems with the length of the course and the sparse fairways to drive on.

“The par threes are all over 200 (yards), (and) you’re probably looking at three or four holes where you have to hit iron off the tee because it’s so tight,” he said.

MSU is coming off last weekend’s second-place finish at the FirstEnergy Collegiate in Kent, Ohio.

Hankins said after not being able to put it all together as a team during the fall season, the squad has begun to do so in the spring.

“More than one guy or two guys - now it’s been four or five guys at a time playing well, allowing us to shoot better scores,” he said.

The timing couldn’t be better for the Spartans to be peaking, with the Big Ten Championships next weekend and the regional championships after that.

With several Big Ten teams competing at Forest Akers this weekend, Goik said it will be a good way to head into the Big Ten Championships and beyond.

“We’re looking forward to this. We, and hopefully the momentum, will take us through this weekend and next because we have a good shot at making regionals if we play well in the next two weeks,” he said.

Hankins said if everything is falling into place for his team, it can accomplish great things before the season ends.

“If we get all five guys clicking at the same time, we can be as good as anybody in the Big Ten,” he said.

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