By Roderick Wilbon, Sports Editor
Golf, the sport and game, is the player versus the course. Watching a tournament, it may seem to be one player versus another player, but usually it is the player versus the course. In most cases though, playing well against the course will always put you in contention for the top.
College tennis is very similar except tournaments are team affairs. The game may start as player versus the course, but then evolve when all the players’ tallies build into a total versus other teams. To win players must rely on the physical talent and mental fortitude of five or six teammates.
“There’s nothing harder in golf than when there’s a score you have to match for your team to win,” said Golf Head Coach Troy Halterman. “The difference is you can rely on your teammates and celebrate with your teammates too.”
College golf is very different versus other college sports. Unlike other college sports, golfers need more than a ball and uniform to participate. Golfers need everyday golf attire and their own clubs to participate; all of which they provide themselves. University of Missouri-St. Louis supports the golf brand Titleist. Golf is also a more personal practice for players and less hands on than other sports. Coaches then critique what they see from students and use tools and video to show them how and where to get better. One such software is V1 that has a free version with motion analysis and digital media technologies.
Last year, Men’s Golf played very well in the regular season. The Tritons entered the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship tied for third place and after the first day of the tournament were in 1st place. The Tritons then lost to Bellarmine in the semifinals match by 2-3 ending their GLVC hopes. In the National Collegiate Athletic Association Midwest/Central Regional the Tritons seemed to lose steam. They finished tied for 12th out of 20 teams, which was not their best ranking all year.
Last year, Women’s Golf also played well during the regular season. The Tritons would enter the GLVC Championship in fourth place. The Tritons played very well finishing the tournament 2nd or runner up to Indianapolis in the finals. In the NCAA Midwest/Central Regional Tournament Women’s Golf finished 8th out of 12 teams to end their overall season.
This year things are different and both Men’s and Women’s Golf are starting this season very well. The lady Tritons finished 2nd out of 15 teams in the University of Indianapolis Invitational Golf Classic September 11 and 12. The Lady Tritons shot a 597 overall with Indianapolis slightly topping them with a 590. The gentlemen Tritons finished 2nd out of 11 teams in the Arch Cup shooting a 584-overall score right behind Lindenwood with a 582 score.
Players have big breaks from school tournaments during winter and summer. During these times students are encouraged to take it easier with light conditioning. Students that feel like they need to stay sharp are encouraged to compete in solo tournaments during these times too. Some of the Tritons are international players, and fly home so this is the perfect time for that.
One of the captains of the Men’s Golf team Markus Lindberg, senior, international business, is a standout player. Lindberg is from Stockholm, Sweden and is the 2016-17 GLVC Golfer of the Year. He is also in the running to take the crown for most Honorable Mention All-Americans with two and PING DII All-Midwest Regions also with two at UMSL. “It’s been my goal for a long time to be the top player; not just on the team but in college rankings, too. I believe I am one of the leaders of the team, I set an example for the guys to follow,” said Lindberg. “One of the best decisions of my life was to come here and become a student athlete.” Lindberg wants to pursue a professional career in golf after graduation.
Standouts for Women’s Golf are Emma Thorngren, sophomore, mathematics, and Maxi Roth, junior, international business. Thorngren and Roth are both international students and great players. Roth is from Stuttgart, Germany and awarded Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-Region and All-GLVC last season. Thorngren is from Vreta Kloster, Sweden and awarded WGCA Honorable Mention All-America, WGCA All-Region, and All-GLVC. “We really had to learn time-management when we came here,” said Thorngren. “We really talk and game plan before a tournament.”
“Playing as a team though you always know that they are there to support you,” said Roth. “It’s kind of like a job, but a fun job to be a student athlete and we’re all family.”