The Northern Kentucky University men’s and women’s golf team prepare for the spring session of their season, and are looking to make some noise in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
After the fall season, both teams have an idea of what they need to work on, and have been using the winter to prepare for the spring.
“We are trying to improve on our thought process on the golf course and not to throw away shots,” said head coach Daryl Landrum. “We have also have been working on our putting.”
The men are the defending Great Lakes Valley Conference champions and are entering the spring as one of the favorites to win the conference again. NKU received three votes in the national poll to rank 50th in the country. The GLVC teams ahead of them are Indianapolis (16th), Drury (30th), Missouri-St. Louis (40th) and Bellarmine (46th).
The NCAA Midwest/South Central Super Regional will be super tough this year. In addition to Indianapolis, three other teams in the super regional are in the top 25 including Central Oklahoma, ranking 5th; Abilene Christian, ranking 6th; and Central Missouri, ranking 19th. There are also six other teams in the Super Regionals that come into this season placing ranks in the top 50.
“The region is very tough and we are definitely one of the the top teams.” Landrum said. “There are eight or nine teams that can win it.”
What will help the Norse is the selection of golf courses this year. The Super Regional will be played at Cherry Blossom Golf Course in Georgetown, Ky., which is like a home course for them. Also, the NCAA Division II Championship will be played at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Ford City, Ala.
”With the GLVC Tournament being played at Cherry Blossom, it is our ticket to nationals,” Cody Moore, a senior, said. “And from the NCAA Tournament preview in the fall, we know we can play that golf course well.”
In the fall, NKU ranked second in the GLVC behind Indianapolis in scoring average. The Norse were led by senior Danny Lewis who led the GLVC in scoring average and junior Jeremy Martin who was sixth in the conference.
The women’s team enters the spring with a young team trying to improve in the conference. They finished seventh out of ten teams in scoring average in the GLVC, so they know they have a lot of work ahead of them. Sophomore Rachel Brown led the Norse in scoring average in the fall and looks for the team to get better.
“The number-one thing is consistency and [we] try to score the same low score when we go out,” Brown said. “We want to improve on our start in the fall.”
The Norse will have to battle with rank-13 Drury, rank-21 Indianapolis and rank-29 Missouri-St. Louis. Those three teams have established themselves at the top of the GLVC by finishing as the top three teams in scoring average in the fall. Also, the top ten golfers from the GLVC in scoring average all come from one of those three teams.
The men’s spring will begin on Feb. 27 at the Golfweek Invitational in Orlando, Fla., with their first home match March 19-20 at their own Spring Host Invitational. The women’s golf team will begin the spring on March 26-27 at the NKU Spring Fling.
Story by John Minor