Retooling on the fairway
Review staff writer
The men’s golf team swung its way to its second victory in two weeks Sept. 24 at the Illahee
“We are very excited,” head coach Greg Copeland said. “We went to the national championships last year, and we are hoping to go again.”
Copeland, in his eighth year with the team, is trying a new approach this season. The meet was part of his strategy, he said. The competition was an event designed to simply let the teams
“This was a dual meet with Willamette,” Copeland said. “We’re trying something different.”
He said the results from the meet do not count toward the Northwest Conference Championships.
“This was just a fun event,”junior Joel Rychard said.
The meet was designed after the Ryder Cup, a golf tournament in which team members work in pairs. The results were tallied by combining the partners’ scores, with a total of eight possible points, Rychard said.
Participants from Linfield and Willamette played in pairs.
“It’s a type of meet that we’ve never played before in college,” senior co-captain Andrew Fitch said.
Fitch tied for first place at the previous meet at Illahee, but did not attend this week’s meet.
“It’s not really an important meet,” Fitch said. “It’s just to have fun and get to know one another better.” The meet fulfilled its purpose, Rychard said.
Rychard and his partner, freshman Alex Fitch, scored the highest number of points possible, as did juniors Tony Kordosky and Tyler Nelson.
“We don’t normally team up like that,” Rychard said. “It was nice to get some time to play in pairs and work together.”
Junior Yutaro Sakamoto said the team used the meet to practice.
“It’s just a scrimmage,” he said. “We’re just working out the kinks.”
Copeland said he hopes to use this meet to motivate the team during the season. They are considered the front-runners in the conference and everyone will be gunning for them.
He said that it was not about the number of strokes the team got but about teamwork.
Sakamoto agreed, saying they will likely cruise through the season without any major surprises.
The team is hoping for another trip to the NCAA National Championships.
“I think we’ll be as strong, if not stronger, than last year,” Copeland said. “We lost one player last year who is really hard to replace, but we have some good freshmen this year.”
Copeland said he expects to see good things from Rychard, Fitch, Korodosky and senior Kevin Duerr. Fitch said that co-captain Kordosky stands out the most.
“[He's] played really well this year, and heÕll definitely be one of our top players,” Fitch said.
But he also said he believes all team members contribute relatively equally.
“We have seven guys who are really consistent and similar in skill level,” he said. “We fit together really well.”
The team will return to normal competition this weekend. It hosts the Linfield Invitational on Sept. 27 and 28 at the Michelbook Country Club.