Daily Egyptian

Wet, windy conditions befall Salukis

By Tyler Davis

The SIU men’s golf team could not overcome steady wind and rain as it stumbled to a 16th place finish Tuesday in Jonesboro, Ark.

The Salukis got off to a rough start at the Arkansas State University Red Wolves Intercollegiate Tournament. They finished the first two rounds in 15th, while Arkansas State won the 21-team tournament.

“Today was not a good day,” coach Leroy Newton said Monday. “Maybe we’re not as good as we think we are or maybe we’re just not working hard enough, but something has to change.”

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The team rebounded after a rough first round, in which the Salukis shot 321. In the second and third round, the team settled for a 301.

Sophomore Drew Novara finished in 34th out of 109 golfers, shooting 14-over-par for the tournament. Senior Caleb Harms shot 19-over-par and tied for 59th while junior Wade Thompson was one stroke behind him and tied for 64th.

Junior Steve Souchek tied for 76th and shot 22-over-par for the tournament. Fellow junior, Andrew Mitchell rounded out the Salukis with a 26-over-par to tie for 92nd.

Newton said the weather might have been the cause of the team’s poor play to start out the tournament.

“I think we have played in bad weather so much that when we walked outside and it was raining the kids just thought ‘oh here we go again,’” he said. “I think it got us off to a bad start.”

The Salukis barely had time to practice before the season began and have now played all but two tournaments in rain-soaked conditions. The tournament began with a 30-minute rain delay. Novara said the weather made the golf course hard to maneuver.

“In the first round, it rained all morning and I think that kind of messed with some people, especially me, mentally,” he said. “It also made the golf course a lot tougher; the fairways were pretty wet.”

Although the Salukis have finished in the bottom quarter of the standings in three of their five tournaments in the spring, Newton said he still has faith in his team for the conference tournament.

Harms said the players have not lost confidence either. The team members acknowledged they have not played their best golf and there is plenty of room for improvement. Harms said he needs to improve on two facets of his game.

“My short game could use work, my driver for sure, I’m not really confident in that right now,” he said. “That’s usually what it comes down to, is driving and putting so that’s what I need to work on the most.”

Newton said the team left a lot of strokes on the links because of their struggles putting. He said the team’s ability outweighs its performance and hinted effort may be the source of its struggles.

“If they work hard and really dedicate themselves then we can be a top-five team (in conference),” he said. “We’ll just have to keep working and see if they want it badly enough to come out and do some little, extra things that will result in lower scores.”

The Salukis end their regular season next week in Nashville, Tenn., at the Tennessee State Big Blue Intercollegiate Tournament. The team will then travel to Silvis for the Missouri Valley Championship Tournament April 28-29.

Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter @TDavis_DE or 536-3311 ext. 269.

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