After a record-setting 2018-19 season, which concluded with a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship, the Southwestern Spartan men's golf team started the 2019-20 campaign with fall tournament play.
"We graduated a lot of talent" says Coach North. "We also return a pair of sophomores that have some competitive collegiate rounds under their belt."
The Spartan fall season started local and gradually increased in distance and caliber of courses and players. The Spartans started on the par-72, 6,503-yard course located next to the campus of Graceland University. "The theme of our fall season seemed to be some great rounds, but just falling short of a solid team score," discussed North. Southwestern finished third and was led by freshman, Camran Walton and his tied-for-first-place finish.
Defending their home course, Crestmoor Golf Club, freshmen Camran Walton and Lachlan Timms led the way in finishing second and fourth, respectively. The Spartans fell short in defending the home turf, finishing seven shots behind North Central Missouri College in the field of six teams. "Once again, we had three solid scores under an 80, but couldn't quite get that fourth score low enough."
Southwestern again stayed close to home with a trip to Indianola to compete in the Simpson Storm Fall Invitational on a par-71, 6,369-yard Indianola Country Club. The in-state tournaments concluded with a venture across the state to compete in the Southeastern and William Penn Fall Invitational held at the #1 ranked public course in the state, Spirit Hollow Golf Course. With a rough start on day one, the Spartans battled on day two to separate themselves from the pack and finish again in second place.
The Spartans concluded their fall season on elite courses in the greater Kansas City area, The Deuce and The National. As some high-wind and chilly conditions set in, the Spartans did not adapt well, finishing in eighth of the thirteen teams in attendance.
Southwestern will enter the championship season ranked thirty-fifth in the NJCAA Division II golf standings. The Spartans cracked the top-fifteen in their National Championship qualifying season, and look to make strides this winter.
"This team has the potential" elaborates North. "They have seen some glimpses of their abilities, but this winter will prove beneficial and be critical in their development. While it is easy to be hung up on the fall and this tournament or that, none of it truly matters. Our regional championship is in May. With Kirkwood ranked number one and DMACC in the top-ten, anything can happen."
The Spartans look for a short winter in Southern Iowa so they can get on the course as frequently and early as possible.