Both the men’s and women’s golf teams swung into action in the last tournaments of their fall seasons. The women’s team took a pair of first-place finishes across the two days of the Delaware CC Fall Invitational. Meanwhile, the men’s side traveled to the Whistling Straits Intercollegiate in Sheboygan, WI, finishing second on day one and fourth place on day two.
The first day of the men’s tournament started with heavy wind conditions. Head coach Lorne Oke spoke on the rough weather and the effects it had on the whole team.
“It was 30-mile-an-hour winds,” Oke said. “It was cold and windy on the first day, and then it was warm and less windy on the second day.”
Oke gave high praise to the whole team for retaining a good spot for the following day, despite the weather.
With that momentum built up, the wind finally settled down and day two opened up more of a relaxed game for the men’s side. The day eventually hit its peak, highlighted by senior Lance VanErmen’s hole-in-one. He finished with the best individual score, 74, across the two days taking 20th in the tournament.
“I actually didn’t hit it phenomenal,” VanErmen said about the hole-in-one. “I just hit it straight enough and got just over the bunker and the lip. We didn’t know it got in until we got up there. It was wild.”
Though the wind was still in effect, it was to VanErmen’s back, which propelled his 134-yard hit in his favor. He started off the day six shots over par through the first three holes but managed to pull off an impressive 15-hole comeback to get to four under.
The Whistling Straits course is known for its hard shots, difficult landscape, and variable weather. Made with an Irish theme, the course is sometimes known for its roaming sheep that cross the green. Thankfully, this did not affect VanErmen nor the team in the slightest.
“The only teams we lost to were the number one team in the country in the NAIA (Keiser University), a top rank NCAA Division II team (Davenport University) and a top rank NCAA Division III team (Aurora University),” Oke said. The scores between the top four teams were within ten shots, and Coach Oke believes Taylor was right there in competition against those other squads.
On the women’s side, the Trojans were headlined by senior Elizabeth Kemper’s impressive third-place finish out of 47 golfers, followed by Shayne Lim taking the fourth spot. Two other Trojans finished in the top 10, with another placing in the top 20. Kemper said that the team did not play at their full potential, yet they secured a tournament win.
With Kemper’s big performance, it showed a lot about Taylor's depth. In the previous tournament, Kemper was not a top-five finisher, but with this bounce-back performance, she’s proved how well she can play.
“I was happy with how I played,” she said. “I didn’t qualify for the last two tournaments so I was happy that I was able to come back and play well and contribute to the team.”
Kemper believes that the team is stepping up, showing off their depth they can always perform well.
Coach Oke also spoke on the depth of the women’s team, and how there are many golfers that can make a big impact while on the green.
“I’ve always said as a college coach you have to have at least four good players (on a team),” Oke said. “We have six. It’s significant from the standpoint of competition internally. You don’t just get those spots, you have to earn them.”
The women’s team saw junior Sabrina Langerak transfer this past year to play at Ball State, but that has not stopped the focus of winning culture amongst the women’s team. Oke says that a winning culture comes from people deciding how hard they want to work. He believes that if a player is working hard and pulling the most out of their game, that person is already winning.
As both teams start their offseason, they look to rest, reset, and get ready for the second half of their season in the spring.