Lopes adapt to circumstances, build teamwork through pandemic
“Our season ended before it even started,” said Lopes’ Head Coach John Wasson. “We made the most with what we were given.”
The Grand Canyon University Club Golf team’s season was far from the norm. In a regular year, the Lopes would compete in the National Collegiate Club Golf Association regional and national tournaments (both fall and spring), and look to claim their fifth consecutive Desert Region championship and second national championship, but pandemic guidelines froze the Lopes’ season aspirations.
“COVID took away three semesters of competition, which is unfortunate especially for the upperclassmen who have lost their final season,” said Wasson.
After hearing the news that their season was canceled, the Lopes still put together a semblance of a season – even though it was not against outside competition – by splitting the team into two divisions and holding a series of intrasquad nine-hole events.
“The comradery that came out of these nine-hole rounds was tremendous,” said Wasson.
The Lopes played in a total of five intrasquad events on GCU’s golf course throughout February and March, but they saved the most exciting game for last. In their final event, the Lopes conducted a ‘blind draw’ round where players were randomly paired with one another, but their partner was not revealed until the round was over. The event ended in an intense putt-off in which Preston Larson and Tyler Smerz took home the win.
“The 9-hole events made this season lot of fun,” said Lopes’ senior Braden Price. “They provided a great way for the team to test their skills against each other and build comradery.”
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