NORTHWOOD MEN'S FALL SHOOTOUT IN GRAND PRAIRIE, TEXAS (Oct. 23-25, 2011) -- The Saints now find themselves back in the Lone Star State with a chip on their shoulder since the National Preview in Oregon. The Saints knew that winning the national preview would be huge for their rankings but they also knew that the fall semester wasn't over and that they could still make their mark in the rankings.
The Northwood Fall Shootout is a tournament that was held by Northwood University, which is located in Fort Worth, Texas. The tournament had many teams from the Red River Conference, which would also give the Saints a preview of some teams that they hadn't seen yet. This tournament was held at Tangle Ridge Golf Club in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The forecast was beautiful weather but with a chance of having high winds. This was a 54-hole event that included 36 holes on Monday and 18 holes on Tuesday. The first day would prove to be a very long one not only with the winds but also a fog delay that postponed the start time for more than an hour. The fog was so thick that the players could see no more than 150 yards in front of them. The Saints had a rough first round posting a 296 but they understood that there was still another round to go.
That is the beauty of playing 36 holes, if you start on the wrong foot, you can still come back and make a difference. The fog delay cut the first day short and many of the players could not finish their second round because of daylight. The idea was to finish the second round at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. The Saints understood that they needed to come out the next day and give it their all and to not give up until the last putt was holed.
With this said, the Saints came out of the dark and won the tournament. Perseverance was the key in the end because they didn't give up and they wanted it so bad. The Saints are now waiting for the polls to come out to see exactly what their progress has done for them.
NAIA MEN'S GOLF NATIONAL PREVIEW IN SALEM, ORE. (Oct. 1-4, 2011) -- The Saints arrived in Oregon and were stunned to see what exactly was waiting for them. This was the NAIA National Championship Preview, a tournament that really meant a lot in the polls because it gave other teams a chance to see teams that are on opposite sides of the country. None of the guys had been to this part of the United States and it really was a treat. The mountains and the fresh green grass was something that they haven't seen in Texas.
The tournament was held in Salem and the name of the golf course was Creekside Golf Club. It was built in a valley meaning that the weather could change at any time. The layout was fit for a National Championship. The greens were rolling at a great pace and the fairways were manicured to perfection. The key team that was on the Saints radar was Texas Wesleyan University, which is also in the Red River Conference.
These two teams were set to do battle because this would give both teams a heads up and give each other looks on how both teams play. The opening round was a great day but with the weather being a bit of a problem with rain that would go on and off making the day a bit soggy. The Saints had finished with a first day total of 300, which put them in fifth place. Texas Wesleyan had posted a score of 290, which gave them the first-round lead. The Saints understood that they had a challenge ahead of them and that in order for them to win, the scores needed to be low. The second round was a challenge because the weather presented the only challenge for the players. The day started with having high winds and the sun out.
The wind is what made the course troublesome because with the course built in a valley, the wind would sweep through the golf course with unprecedented power. Throughout the day, the wind stopped blowing and the rain started to fall. Now one can see that natural elements are what made this day a tough one. Despite the elements, the Saints posted a 301, which bumped them into fourth place -- A good showing for the Saints at their first-ever national preview and it gave them a chance to be ranked in the top 10 for the spring semester.
CHARLES COODY INVITATIONAL IN ABILENE, TEXAS (Sept. 11-13, 2011) -- Blue skies and hot windy days are what the weather was like in Abilene, Texas. The OLLU Men's Golf Team visited Abilene for the annual Charles Coody Invitational held at Diamondback Golf Club. The tournament is sponsored by Abilene Christian University and Charles Coody, a man who has won the Masters in his past on the PGA Tour and is a local celebrity to the Abilene community. Abilene Christian is the preseason #1 ranked team, according to the Nike/GolfWorld NCAA Division-II Polls. The tournament was set on being a shootout to see who the best team at the tournament was. Along with powerhouse ACU was the University of Central Oklahoma. Central Oklahoma is the #3 ranked team in NCAA Division-II and was also set to make a run at the national title. With these big NCAA Division-II schools is Our Lady of the Lake University who can't be mistaken for a pushover. OLLU entered the preseason as the #13 ranked team in the NAIA and was set to do battle with these top schools. The golf course was in pristine condition considering the drought that Texas had been experiencing for the entire summer. Surprisingly OLLU was in contention after the first day by shooting an opening round of 288. The greens were rolling and this is what made the golf course tough for players to putt on. They were rolling pretty quickly and it took advantage of some players. The second day was going to make or break some teams but not for the Saints. The Saints came back the second day firing 283 for a total of 571. This left the Saints in 3rd place behind Central Oklahoma and Abilene Christian. Overall, it was a great opening tournament for the Saints and a preview of things to come for this young yet talented team.
NSU MEN'S GOLF CLASSIC IN MUSKOGEE, OKLA. (Sept. 26-27, 2011) -- Different weather was set in Muskogee, Okla., which was the next stop for the OLLU Saints golf team. Instead of facing grueling temperatures of 95 degrees and above came temperatures of a cool 80 degrees. This was a change that the Saints had to face but it was to their benefit. This tournament is called the NSU Men's Golf Classic sponsored by Northeastern State University. This tournament was held at Muskogee Country Club, which is an old style golf course that if players hit errant drives, the spread trees allowed them to still have a chance to recover from these drives. Returning this week for the Saints were myself, Nick Chacon, Dustin Blair and Jack Shores. The fifth player that made the team for the week, John Mulholland, is an Australian, who is a sophomore. This will be his first tournament for the Saints and there is much expected from him. The Saints opened up the tournament on a good note and was tied for the lead after the first round of play. The NSU Fall Classic is usually held as a 36-hole event but this year it is a 54-hole event making the first day a 36-hole day and the second day just 18 holes. The Saints had a few bumps in the road for them and fell to sixth place after Monday. The players knew that in order for them to try and make a run for the victory, they needed to score better overall. The Saints ended up coming back and finished in fifth place which made them the only NAIA school to finish in the top 5 for the tournament. The two other teams that the Saints needed to focus on beating were Rogers State University and Southern Nazerene University. Southern Nazerene is ranked ahead of the Saints at #10 in the nation and it was key that the Saints beat them to move up in the rankings. The Saints did beat Southern Nazerene and will eventually move up in the polls. It has been a great start for the Saints golf team and now they are set to compete in the NAIA National Preview in Salem, Oregon coming up this weekend.
"The Eagle Eye" blog author, Aaron Flores, is a junior at Our Lady of the Lake University. He is majoring in public relations and minoring in business at the Lake. His athletic honors at OLLU include: 2009-2010 -- All Freshman Team; 2009-2010 NAIA Second-Team All-American; 2009-2010 PING GCAA Third-Team All-American; 2009-2010 Red River Athletic Conference Champion; 2010-2011 NAIA Second-Team All-American; 2010-2011 PING GCAA Second-Team All-American; Three Tournament Victories; Two-Time NAIA National Championship Participant. This year, Aaron has been invited to participate in the Inaugural Patriot All-American Invitational that will be held in December in Litchfield Park, Ariz. The Arizona Golf Association, The Wigwam and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) have partnered with the Folds of Honor Foundation to host the tournament. The 54-hole amateur event will be held Dec. 28-30 at The Wigwam and will feature current men's collegiate golfers. Invitations to the Patriot All-America are primarily based on individuals earning PING All-America honors the previous season in NCAA Divisions I, II and III as well as the NAIA and NJCAA Divisions I and II.
Aaron will be writing a regular blog on tournaments he and his team participate in throughout the fall and spring semester.
Read more about the Saints golf team on their home page.
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