Western Courier

Golf teams to turn season around

Jackson Wetherbe prepares for his chip shot.

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Jackson Wetherbe prepares for his chip shot.

Jacob VanZuiden, Courier Staff

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As the latter portion of the season rolls around, the Leathernecks’ golf program looks to set the bar high in hopes of a late-season surge.

Both the men’s and women’s golf team are set to compete in their respective contests, opening play on Monday. For the Western Illinois men’s golf team, last time out in the Zach Johnson Invitational surely has them pointed in the right direction as senior Jackson Wetherbee took a score of 219 (+6) in the contest and notched his second top-10 finish of the season individually. Fellow senior golfer John Duggan III placed second on the team with a score of 225 (+12), finishing in 27th place individually.

For the men’s team, they know that they need to perform well in the remaining action left in the season as it draws near its conclusion. The team is set to tee off today at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate hosted by New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M. So far this season, the Purple and Gold have yet to make a trip as far as this, but have no doubt: this team is ready for a change of scenery and looks to string together their best performance of the season. They have had ample time to prepare for the contest, as it’s been nearly two weeks since their last game action.

Leading the charge for the Leathernecks should one again be standout senior Jackson Wetherbee. All year long, Wetherbee has continued to impress in his last season as a collegiate golfer. Dugan III, another player whose time is nearing an end as a senior, will aim at producing for this team at a high level in his remaining varsity action. Talented freshman Cameron Karney, a player who has turned heads in his first collegiate season, looks to keep the momentum rolling at the Invitational.

For the women’s team, they look to improve upon their last outing where the team finished dead last in the Creighton Classic hosted at Oak Hills Country Club in Omaha, Nebraska. Freshman Emily Marrs and sophomore Katy Schmitt were the bright spots for this team in the matchup, accruing score of 162 (+16) and 164 (+18).

While the team has struggled to an extent, that has not deterred the mindset of these golfers or surrounding members of the program. Head coach Lia Biehl Lukkarinen has remained optimistic and has been quick to point out the positive aspects of their game.

“It was great to have everyone playing today,” Lukkarinen said. “It was even better that we were able to improve our team score.”

This was a statement made after a knee injury hampered the availability of junior Cassidy Jurkaites, who was unable to compete in the first round of play but was cleared to return in the following rounds. In the second, Jurkaites hit the ground running and was able to muster a team-low 78. The team’s health will be a key component to their success as they prepare for their last outing of the season.

The Purple and Gold will come into action on Monday for one last time in the 2018 season. They head to Kettering, Ohio in hopes of stealing a team victory at the Dayton Invitational. Like the men’s team, they haven’t seen any live action in quite some time (Oct. 2), giving them sufficient time to prepare for their last hoorah.

While this season hasn’t gone exactly the way either team had envisioned, there have been plenty of positives to take away. Both teams should be in high spirits while looking to show how they’ve improved their game when they step foot on the course Monday.

While it’s been a long, bumpy road for these teams, their resilience remains in peak form and their confidence should not be swayed as they wrap up the 2018 campaign.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Golf teams to turn season around