Golfers look for another win in home tourney

Eric Smith

Each year, there are several home athletic events that Washburn fans can attend. Very rarely, though, do they include the Ichabod golf team. The team is competing in the Washburn Invitational that began earlier today at the Topeka Country Club.

Having won the two-day 36-hole tournament the past three times it has been held in 2003, 2005 and 2007, the Bods are looking to repeat.

The last time the Washburn Invitational was held in 2007, the Bods shot a 5-over par 573, beating the second place team by 17 strokes.

However, this year it won’t be such a piece of cake, because Mother Nature has other plans, according to Dustin Yeager. He said it’s supposed to rain today before clearing up on Tuesday.

Plus, because of all the rain this past week, Yeager said the course is still pretty soaked.

“It’s going to play a little different for us,” said Yeager, who tied for 17th in the 2007 tournament with a 150. “But we know that course like the back of our hand.

“We’re just going to have pick up all of our games. Each person is just going to have to limit their mistakes. We’re just going to have to defend our turf and go out there and play our own game, not worry about what everybody else is doing.”

The Topeka Country Club (par 71-6,594 yards) is the practice location of the team, gives the Bods many great advantages.

“Topeka Country Club is real narrow, so there are some holes there where you have to hit it in certain spots to protect yourself from the big numbers,” said Yeager. “I think the biggest advantage for us is knowing the golf course so well. Also, playing in front of our family and friends is always nice with that extra encouragement.”

The postseason begins with the MIAA tournament next Monday at the Shoal Creek Golf Club in Kansas City, Mo. The Ichabods have won the event the last two years and had the top individual medalist both times.

While the Ichabods are currently playing in their own tournament, last week they were in Edmond, Okla., at the Kickingbird Golf Course playing in the UCO/Kickingbird Classic.

On the first day of the tournament, the Bods had to go up against 40 mph winds and a wind-chill in the mid 30s.

The weather affected everyone, including Washburn, who shot a 602 (301-302) through the first 36 holes, good for fourth after day one.

“The weather conditions were just horrible,” said Doug Hamilton, Washburn coach. “The guys were battling and they were competing but by the time it was said and done, we didn’t put up as good of scores as we should have that day. We just dug ourselves too deep of a whole to come back from.”

Individually for the Bods, everyone shot in the 70s, and Matt Ewald led the team with 145 (72-73), good for fifth place tie.

Day two and the final 18 brought better weather and scores as the Ichabods shot 25 strokes better than they had the previous round.

“I thought on Tuesday the guys responded really well,” said Hamilton. “They came out and really competed hard and made a nice run. We still are making too many mental errors that are costing us two or three strokes in the golf tournament.”

Although they still finished fourth and 18 shots back of the host UCO, the Bods had two players in the 60s with Ewald’s 69 and Dustin Yeager’s 67. Ewald ended up finishing fifth with a 214, while Yeager tied for 15th, shooting a 221.

WU’s Sam Wempe tied for 23rd with a 223, Matt Lazzo tied for 30th with a 225 and Matt Salome tied for 41st with a 228.

Playing as individuals, Riley Piles tied for 66th with a 235 and Nate Sargent shot a 239, tying him for 81st.

“I think we’re really close to being a good team,” said Hamilton. “We have the talent to be a really good team. But we just make too many mental mistakes that cost us every round.”