Golf gets undesired results in Indiana

Jackson Wetherbee stares down the hole as he lines up a putt.


Jackson Wetherbee stares down the hole as he lines up a putt.

Jacob VanZuiden, Courier Staff

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Both the men and women’s golf team competed in their respective contests on Monday as the men looked to improve on their last outing and the women aimed to set the tone in their first real action of the season.

Coming into Monday’s action, the Leatherneck men’s team were coming off a last place finish in the Fuzzy Zoeller Invitational as the team attempted to shake off the rust and early-season jitters while battling severe weather. While the rainfall of the season opener may have frustrated the golfers, they aimed to come out this time around and see strides in their development as the early season progresses.

The first two rounds of the Crusader Collegiate took place on Monday in Chesterton, Ind., where freshman Cameron Karney continues to turn heads early in his young career.

He was the standout of the day for Western as he led the way with a pair of career-low scores of 74 to post combined tally 148 (+4) through the first two rounds of play. Senior Jackson Wetherbee also looked sharp as usual, shooting a 76 in the first round and following that up with another solid score of 77 in the second round. He will take a score of 153 (+7) into day two of the contest.

Aside from Karney and Wetherbee, senior John Duggan III did his part by chipping in with an outstanding effort in the first round of play, shooting a team-low 73. He, however, did struggle to an extent in the second round, giving him a total of 159 (+15) for the day. Juniors Kyle Irlbacker and Joe Burke rounded out the starting lineup for the Leathernecks. Irlbacker turned in a score of 162 (+18) while Burke shot his way to a 164 (+21). Senior Dennis Reedy golfed as an individual and is tied for 50th after firing a 158 (+14) through the contest’s opening rounds.

After the conclusion of the first two rounds, the Western men’s team finds themselves sitting at ninth place overall out of 13 qualifying teams. They will look to catch fire on the last day of the competition and work their way towards the top of the leaderboard.

Western’s women’s team also saw their first live action of the season at Illinois State’s Redbird Invitational in Normal, Ill., on Sunday as it came to a conclusion Monday evening. This team knew that they would have some big shoes to fill coming into this season as they lost four of their top performers from last year.

Junior Cassidy Jurkaites took a larger role on this team by leading the Leathernecks with a team-low round of 77 on Sunday and finished with a 237 (+21) for the contest. For freshman Emily Marrs, this was her first match as a collegiate golfer, posting a final score of 254 (+38). Senior Katie McTaggart also wound up finishing at 254 while Sophomore Katy Schmitt was able to turn in a score of 258 (+42). Senior Mariah Peters competed in the contest as an individual and finished tied for 64th after ending the contest with a score of 247 (+31).

The Purple and Gold didn’t exactly get the turnout that they had planned, as they finished the Redbird Invitational in 13th place out of 14 qualifying teams, accruing a final team score of 997. Northern Illinois University took home the gold prize, finishing with a rather impressive score of 882.

While the final results may not have been what the team wanted, head coach Lia Biehl Lukkarinen seemed to be optimistic about their performance, acknowledging that there were good things to take away from this.

“Cassidy had a solid event for us,” Lukkarinen said. “Our experience showed when we put pressure on ourselves. We will focus on our mental game and putting as we prepare for the Cardinal Classic.”

The men’s team will continue their season this weekend at the SIU Derek Dolenc Invitation in Madison, Ill., while the women’s team will have a bye week.

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