Eagles get on roll by winning last two tournaments before Region XI Tournament
The Kirkwood Eagles golf team finished the regular season on a high note and now look to claim the NJCAA DII Region XI Tournament championship for the third year in a row.
The Eagles (45-12) started the season ranked fourth in the country and have lived up to the hype despite having a majority of freshmen on the team. With only four golfers that had experienced the pressures of playing at the collegiate level, the younger members of the team needed to step up to tee with confidence in their abilities. According to Head Coach Darin Pint, the Eagles have improved over the course of the season and have a good mixture of veteran leadership and young talent.
"This team is younger than last year's team," said Pint. "I think we've gotten better as the season has gone on but it took a little while for guys to understand that the weather can't be used as an excuse. Four different freshmen have finished in the top five in one tourney or another throughout this spring. Last year we had all sophomores in the top five so our freshman class definitely has some talent. The postseason is a different atmosphere though. We need to be prepared mentally for us to do something in the postseason."
Fittingly, a pair of freshman and sophomore standouts has led the team on the course this season. Freshman Nathan Chilcott (Vale of Glamorgan, Wales) is currently ranked 32nd in the country and has three individual wins this year. In addition, he boasts a 74.22 scoring average. Sophomore Ryan Palser (Creston, Iowa) is ranked 69th nationally with five top-10 finishes and a 75.58 scoring average. Both Chilcott and Palser figure to be major factors as the team prepares for a championship run.
Last year, Kirkwood placed fourth in the nation following the national tournament. According to Pint, the team will need to maintain focus and play with a team mentality in order to have a chance to repeat the success of last year.
"Now is the time to play our best golf," said Pint. "You don't get any second chances. I expect them to compete and play for each other. That is all. We'll see where that takes us."
The NJCAA DII Region XI Tournament will take place at Lake Panorama Golf Club in Panora, Iowa from May 3-4.
The Kirkwood Men's Golf Team will be host to a list of 9 schools on Sunday and Monday as they prepare to rebound from a disappointing start to the 2014 spring season where they finished in 6th place at the Iowa Intercollegiate. The Eagles will host the Eagle Spring Invitational held at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion, IA. on March 30-31. The tournament will start on Sunday with a shotgun start at 12pm followed by a shotgun start Monday at 9am. Admission is free.
The Kirkwood Men's Golf Team opened up play at the Preserve Golf Course in Moravia, IA on March 21-22 where William Penn University hosted the Iowa Intercollegiate Championship. The tournament was cut short to 18 holes because of brutally cold weather conditions on Saturday. The Eagles finished in 6th place with a team score of 314.