This fall season, the men’s and women’s programs for Taylor University golf have been nothing short of successful. As the men’s team finished top, the women’s team finished top ten.
The men’s only garnered a single third place finish amongst all the tournaments played. That was the first day of their first tournament, the Players Club Invitational. Since then, they have placed in the top two spots of each tournament they’ve been to.
Of the male athletes, senior Noah Ross has been swinging for the fences. He has really put on a great performance this fall and is looking to keep his streak going in the spring.
Ross completed this season ending tournaments with four straight top two finishes and finished on a high note. He individually placed third in the Crossroads League Preview with an even par, 144. Furthermore, that place was the lowest he’s gotten on the season.
“It’s good to see the hard work paying off,” Ross said. “This is the year we feel like we can make a legitimate run at the national tournament. We’ve been such a solid squad”.
Ross is going to return next year as a fifth-year player. There are five seniors on the team, and Ross knows that this could be the year where that group can make a big push in success.
“Coming into the fall, I wanted to be in contention to win every tournament that I played in, individually,” Ross said. “And for the spring, as a team we are wanted to compete for the national tournament.” Ross gives the men’s program high expectations for success leading into the second half of the year.
On the women’s side, they had one finished outside the top two spots, placing ninth in the first day of the TPC Deere Run Invitational. Before and after that rained-out day, just like the men’s team, they never placed outside the top two spots when finishing tournaments.
Sophomore Sabrina Langerak came into this fall season fresh off being an individual Crossroads League Champion. Starting the season, she never slowed down, claiming a top two spot at the Battle of Brookwood tournament. Since that tournament, she only had one tournament where she placed outside the top ten position.
“We didn’t really know what to expect (at the start),” she said. “But we were able to pull through and play pretty well.”
Langerak gave high praise to the two lone freshmen on the team, Shayne Lim and Margarita Garrido. Both international students have proven to be a substantial part of the girls’ program, helping the team to reach ninth overall in crossroads.
The golf program also showed their colors with new head coach Lorne Oke, who started his position this past August. Oke had a long history in the sport of golf before coming to Taylor. He started with Bethel, working with the women’s program and starting the first season in 2000.
Over the years, Oke also worked with Indiana Wesleyan sports, leading both the men’s and womens’ golf programs from 2016 to 2019. He put the Wildcats into a few top-three finishes for the program for both teams.
When Oke took the role of head coach at Taylor, there were a few moving parts — most notably, timing.
“It was a fast transition,” he said. “I came in (as head coach) right into the start of the season, but the feeling was comfortable.”
Oke had faced off against the Trojans several times in both fall and spring tournaments. He said the men’s team had more conference success in past seasons and the women’s team had more national success.
Overall, he hopes both teams will become the best they can be.
“I want to help these athletes and individuals to lead their team to a national level, and maximize peak performance,” Oke said.
Other goals include making golf a premiere sport in the conference and country, maximizing every recruiting class and pushing player development.