Now on the Tee… The NWC Spring Classic

I wanted to use this picture, because I feel it is a better representation of us

Play within your capabilities, never get down on yourself.

Our return to the Cascade Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton this past weekend was much different than our first venture there. Just over a month ago it was much colder, wetter, snowier, and hail-ier(?). The UPS Invitational had the added adversary of Olympic College, as well as our conference rivals Willamette.

Looking back at my article recounting the tale of that tournament, I talked about playing in the rain and the mentality of trying to follow up a good round. It is interesting how different things went at our Spring Classic.

We seemed to do everything the other way around this time. At the UPS, we went low the first day (284) for a 6-shot lead and held on for a 2-shot win over Olympic College on Sunday (300). I did the same, carding a 1-under 70 the first day, only to back it up with a 6-over 77.

A month later, we come out to a much more peaceful and non-hail covered Cascade course and fire 297 in the first round. We went into Sunday holding only a 1-shot advantage over Willamette. On Sunday, we bettered the field by 8 shots (286), seemingly “cruising” to a 9-shot win.

Looking back even further, to the NWC Fall Classic: We opened up a 18-shot lead after the first day (a school record one-under 287) and never really looked back. We were the only team to shoot under 300 either day. It was easy playing on Sunday, since the only way we could lose the tournament is if we had a monumental collapse. Still, I think a few of us were nervous for most of the round. Since our whole season is only based on three conference events, (Fall Classic, Spring Classic, and NWC Championship) there is obviously a lot of pressure to play well. So we were by no means playing with the house’s money this last Sunday.

What impressed me most about these Lutes this weekend was our ability to compete. I knew we were very competitive already. Our practices always include some sort of putting, closest-to-the-pin, or 9-hole contest. What we showed at Spring Classic was that when it comes down to one day, 18 holes, virtually a playoff between us and our main rival, we were able to stay above the suffocating fog of pressure, doubt, nerves, and anxiety.

My mindset last Sunday was, well, the thing is that I didn’t really even think about it. In my head, I figured that I had putted so badly the first round (78… 36 putts… 4 three-putts. It wasn’t all bad, I eagled the par 5 18th to finish at 78.), that if I still was hitting the ball decently from tee to green, then I would play well. For the most part, this was true. (72…27 putts…no three-putts).

In fact, we all improved our scores by at least 3 shots in the second round. This is somewhat unusual for us in tournaments. Out of the 7 tournaments we have played this year, we played better the second day in 4 events. One of those, the Whitworth Invitational, we shot 293–292.

Okay, so what am I trying to get at?

Last weekend was a huge step for us as a team. 297–286, improving by 11 shots in the second round, is our best of the season (besides the West Cup, because 318–303 isn’t something to applaud). It is something to keep in mind, to give us confidence going into the NWC Championship, which is being held literally in our backyard: Tacoma Golf & Country Club. We have two weeks of prep before our final step to punching our ticket to Florida for the NCAA DIII National Championship. So, in that time, what will I be focusing on? I think y’all might know…

Oh, right.
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