By: Chase Gardiner/GCU Staff
After leading throughout most of the previous weekend’s regional tournament en route to the championship, the Grand Canyon University Club Golf Team found themselves playing from behind after the first day of competition of the National Collegiate Club Golf Association (NCCGA) Regional 2 event this past weekend in Prescott. Despite the slow start, the Lopes managed to piece together an impressive rally and claimed yet another first-place finish Sunday. The back-to-back regional tournament wins put them as one of the favorites as they head to the NCCGA Spring National Championships in Indiana to defend their 2018 title.
Following the comeback victory, Lopes’ Head Coach John Wasson offered some insight into how his team managed to overcome their poor start.
“In that first day, nobody on the team played very well, and ASU came out really strong,” explained Wasson. “It was pretty clear that we needed to find a way to get our act together if we had any chance of pulling ahead in the second day. Fortunately for us, our guys responded better than I could have imagined, and everyone played incredibly well, which gave us the means to win the whole thing.”
Although the Lopes were able to dodge a bullet and prevent a potentially upsetting result, they know that such an experience can offer valuable insight for improvement.
“This win was actually a little more important than just winning regionals,” explained Wasson. “Since it was so close and the team had to really fight back, it showed them how well they can play in big moments. Performing so well in a situation like this is a really huge boost and it should serve them well when nationals rolls around.”
While the lessons learned from the weekend should undoubtedly aid the Lopes in their national tournament efforts, there is still one more obstacle between them and their second straight spring nationals crown.
“The greatest challenge for us will just be how difficult the course is,” explained Wasson. Our team is going to need to be mentally strong, and know that everyone is going to be making bogeys, so when that happens to them, they just need to stay focused and persevere, and they will be fine. Fortunately, this win in Regionals has put them in the right place to cement that confidence and keep them in the necessary mentality going forward.”
The Lopes will have a chance to prove themselves yet again when they travel out to Purdue University on April 27 to compete in the NCCGA Spring Nationals. Stay tuned on the Club Golf home page to see how well the Lopes do!