Emma Esteb – Staff Writer
This past weekend, the Gustavus men’s golf team traveled to Normal, IL to compete in the Illinois Wesleyan Invite for their spring season opener. The Gusties A team finished with a two-round score of 310-305-615 to tie for 12th, their B team had a 314-302-616 for a tie at 14th, and their final team ended with a 341-339-680. “Obviously if you don’t win a tournament you wish you would have played better, but super happy with how hard we battled and played,” Head coach Scott Moe said.
Senior Wyatt Wasko led the Gusties first team with a score of 76-74-150, tying for 23rd place. “For me, I have been thankful to have a lot of success in college, winning three tournaments and getting All Region honors. I go into every weekend just thinking I have an opportunity to do really well and just believing in myself knowing that I have that experience. My main thing is to just stay patient throughout the whole tournament,” Wasko said.
He finished the tournament with six birdies. First-year Chris Gutuza tied for 48th with 79-74-153 and three birdies in the second round. Also finishing 48th, First-year Pelayo Perez, ended the weekend with 77-76-153. Hoppe tied for 59th where he posted five birdies with a score of 80-74-154. “I think my attitude was really good all weekend. The second day that we played, I found a swing thought on the range and hit a lot better shots the second day than I did the first day. My ball strike on the second day was the best it has been in a while,” Hoppe said.
Senior Sam Skarr finished the tournament with a 79-79-158. “I drove the ball really well this week. I had control over it and it was something I worked really hard on during the off season so having that control really made it easier for me to score well and put myself in places I could hit better shots,” Skarr said.
The Gusties have been hitting in their indoor facility for the last five months, making that transition to outdoor a little difficult. “Hitting off of a flat, perfect lie, and now we are hitting into the trees and out of the rough and just kinda had to work through some things during the round. But, overall very well pleased with how we traveled and how we competed,” Moe said.
The team has a lot of depth and competitiveness that they have not necessarily had in the past. “We are really deep, we have a lot of guys that could step up and play on the first team and that is something that we haven’t had in the past. This year we have nine guys that could easily play on the first team any given weekend so that depth has really been a benefit to our team this fall and hopefully stays that way in the spring season,” Skarr said.
The team has been really disciplined during the off season in order for them to excel this spring. The combination of experienced players with the promising underclassmen create the perfect recipe for success on the course. “I’m looking forward to everyone getting the chance to compete. We got all of our guys that played in Illinois, we brought 15 guys that competed, we will play everybody again this weekend and next weekend. We are very fortunate to be able to do that. Typically, you only get maybe a maximum of ten guys and you are leaving five guys sitting at home, so I’m happy to reward our guys with the opportunity to compete after working so hard in the off season,” Moe said.
The team has three more tournaments to finish out their spring season and the guys are looking forward to putting their best foot forward. April 16 and 17, they are heading to Augsburg for the Augsburg Invitational before hosting the next weekend at the Bobby Krig Invite. The Gusties will finish out their season at Saint John’s for the Saint John’s Invite at the end of April. With a handful of seniors, the Gusties are appreciating every moment on the course. “I am most looking forward to just being around the guys. There are six of us graduating, so just being able to enjoy the travel that we had this weekend and then to Augsburg and then at the end of the year to Saint John’s. I am going to appreciate just being able to travel and be around them while also getting to play golf for another four or five weeks before we all go our separate ways,” Wasko said.
The team has a promising future ahead as they head into their next three tournaments where they are hoping to pull out a win.