Caleb Pollema- Staff Writer
Rain and wind are the last things a golfer hopes to deal with on a day out at the links. But for the first two tournaments of the year, the Dordt men’s golf team had to cope with both.
The team began their season at the Blue River Classic in Nebraska. The two-day event started in Beatrice, at the Beatrice Country Club, and finished in Lincoln, at the Highlands Golf Course.
The Defender men started strong with a first day score of 81 from senior Ryan Feauto and scores of 83 from both senior Brandon Vande Griend and junior Blake Harmsen.
Dordt would finish the day in second place with a team score of 333, just behind Iowa Western.
And as the team headed to Lincoln for day two of the competition, the rough weather continued.
The team finished the final day of the tournament with a 314 and a combined score of 627.
Feauto finished the second day with a 78, landing him in a tie for twelfth place individually. The team finished in third behind two teams from Iowa Western.
Head coach Jon Crane expressed his pride in his team despite the weather conditions.
“They battled through two days of rain, wind, and cold and really showed heart,” Crane said. “I’m very proud of how they stayed positive and played hard for the last two days.”
With the first tournament of the year under their belts, the team turned their attention to an event closer to home, the Siouxland Invite.
Dordt hosted the first day of the tournament at the Ridge Golf Club in Sioux Center and Northwestern hosted the second day at the Landsmeer Golf Club in Orange City.
The Defenders ranked second as a team with a 290 score at the end of day one. A 66 stroke performance from Feauto, a 73 from Harmsen, and a 75 from Colin Kloostra led the effort.
In fact, Feauto’s 66 sets a new school record for the lowest 18-hole score in a tournament. At the tournament, it placed him at five under par and tied for first individually.
Still, the wet and foggy weather failed to alleviate as the tournament headed to Landsmeer.
“In tough conditions, it’s necessary to just focus on one shot at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed,” junior Ryan Fedders said. “I feel like all the guys on our team stayed patient and trusted in our games to grind out pars and ultimately piece together a good round.”
Despite the conditions, the Defenders finished in fourth place after a day two score of 302 and a combined two-day score of 592.
Harmsen finished the tournament tied for 3rd place with a combined score of 144 and Feauto earned a combined score of 145 that tied for 7th place. Sophomore
Freddy Bullock tied for 9th place in the tournament, giving Dordt three top-10 finishes in the wet weather.
“The team played really hard for two days in windy conditions,” Crane said. “To finish with three players in the top-ten is a real accomplishment.”
With two top-four team finishes on their resume to start the year, Dordt will turn its attention to upcoming Northwest Iowa Invitational in Le Mars at Willow Creek. A promising forecast with temperatures in the low 80s also looks for a nice change of pace.
Dordt hopes to continue to build off its strong play as it prepares for the GPAC Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, at Indian Creek, which is just over a week away.
“With the GPAC tournament coming up soon, a lot of us are playing our best golf of the year,” Fedders said. “It’s going to be exciting how we match up with the other teams, and hopefully we can head down to Omaha and post some good rounds.”
The Defenders are confident in their play and are looking forward to an exciting finish to the season.