For the first time in the Hillsdale College golf team’s three-year history, the varsity team had to make cuts.

The golf team played a 72-hole qual­ifier last week to determine the 12 players who would travel to tour­na­ments. The roster at the beginning of this year con­sisted of 15 players, meaning three Chargers were placed on a practice-only squad for the year.

“All of the guys responded very well to the chal­lenge, and they knew that this was going to happen when they left last spring,” head coach Nate Gilchrist said. “They had all summer to prepare and get ready for this.”

After the qual­ifier, the trav­eling golf squad this year includes: freshmen George Roberts, Sutton Dun­woodie, and Ryan Zetwick; sopho­mores Joel Pietila, Liam Purslowe, Henry Hitt, Peter Beneteau, and Andrew Grayson; juniors Logan Kauffman, John Burke, Steve Sartore, and Joe Torres.

Sophomore Joel Pietila took first in the qual­ifier with an even par score of 288. Pietila, along with Purslowe, Hitt, Beneteau and Kauffman took the top five spots.

Pietila shot 66, a course and per­sonal record, at Bella Vista Golf Course on Thursday during the qual­ifier.

“It was the easiest round of golf I’ve ever played. I hit fairways, greens, and made the putts I needed to make,” Pietila said.

Pietila had a clean scorecard that day — he did not make a single bogey. He had three birdies on the front nine and three on the back nine. With the qual­ifier behind them, Pietila said he and his team­mates feel opti­mistic going into next weekend’s tour­nament.

“We’ve improved a ton over the summer, and this year we have ability and the con­fi­dence to go out and win tour­na­ments,” Pietila said.

The top five Chargers will play in the team’s first tour­nament this weekend, the GLIAC North Invi­ta­tional, at Hawk­shead Links in South Haven, Michigan.

“These four days were a great prepa­ration leading into our tour­nament this weekend,” Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist said he thinks the team has a real shot at a first place finish. Last year, the Chargers tied for 6th place at the invi­ta­tional.

Mean­while, the Chargers who fin­ished in spots six through 10 will compete in a sec­ondary tour­nament in Jackson, Michigan.

Freshman George Roberts placed sixth in the qual­ifier and scored 305. In his first college golf tour­nament, Roberts will lead his team into the Irish Hills Inter­col­le­giate at the Grande Golf Club.

“I think I’m going to enjoy the pressure, but I’ll be nervous taking the team into my first tour­nament,” Roberts said.

Roberts said he hopes to help take home a win for the team and place in the top five indi­vid­ually.

Sophomore Grayson and juniors Burke, Sartore, and Torres will play alongside him.

Dun­woodie and Zetwick, based on their fin­ishes in the qual­ifier, will not travel with the team next weekend but will have the oppor­tunity to play in later tour­na­ments.