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Freshman Ryan Zetwick practices on the range at Hayden Park. (Photo: John Quint / Courtesy)

In their first GLIAC tournament of the 2016 season, the golf team took 10th place out of 12 teams.

Although he was not content with the team’s overall finish, sophomore Liam Purslowe said, “We played a lot more consistently than we did last year, which is a positive sign. Rather than some low scores and some high, we all scored pretty much together.”

The GLIAC North Invitational was last Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17-18, at Hawks’ Head Links Golf Course in South Haven, Michigan. The five-man lineup shot 300 the first day and 299 the second day. They finished with a 599 total for the tournament, 27 strokes behind the first place finisher, Ferris State University.

Purslowe came out of the tournament with the low score from Hillsdale. He shot an even-par 72 the first day and 74 the second day. Purslowe’s overall score of 146 landed him in 14th place as an individual, out of about 70 players.

Purslowe said he had a shot at a top-five finish.

“I bogeyed the last two holes to miss out on the top five. It was a disappointing finish to the second day,” he said.

Head coach Nate Gilchrist said although the team didn’t finish well, he saw signs of good golf throughout the tournament. Gilchrist emphasized the team’s need to take a more thoughtful approach to the game.

“I don’t think they were mentally committed to each shot,” Gilchrist said. “They have all the talent and capabilities to win each tournament but they needed to give a more thorough thought process for each shot when choosing their targets and their clubs.”

Gilchrist said the team will work on the mental aspect of the game this week to eliminate the “random mental mistakes” he saw during the GLIAC North Invitational.

Five more Hillsdale golfers played in the Irish Hills Intercollegiate, a junior varsity tournament, on Sept. 16-17 at the Grande Golf Club. Over both days, the team shot 314 and 312. They scored 626 total, which earned them fifth place out of 8 teams.

Junior Joe Torres shot a 73 and 74 at the tournament, which was the low score for Hillsdale. He tied for sixth place as an individual.

“I hit 13 fairways the first day out of 14, and I only had one 3 putt for the whole tournament,” Torres said. “I’m pretty confident with how I’m playing.”

The team played their qualifier at the Grande last week, and Torres said he had “a good idea of how to play the course.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 21 the team will play another qualifier to determine the five people who will play in the Midwest Regional next week. Purslowe and Torres are guaranteed a spot in the tournament because they had the low score in their tournaments last week.

These five will compete in the Midwest Regional on Monday and Tuesday Sept. 26-27, which will be played at Harborside Golf Links in Chicago, Illinois.

Purslowe said the team is looking to score about 290 or 295 at the Midwest Regional and place in the top 10 out of 32 teams.

Purslowe said the course isn’t too hard in good conditions, but when the wind picks up it plays very difficult. Last year, he shot 69 the first day and 82 the second day, when the wind got up to 40 or 50 miles per hour.

“Fortunately we head up Saturday morning for two practice rounds.” Purslowe said. “We can work on beating where we finished last year.”