By: Chase Gardiner/GCU Staff
Too much comfort… even in 45-degree weather?
After finishing not worse than 4th in any of their last four appearances at the National Collegiate Club Golf Association (NCCGA) National Championships, and entering this past weekend as the defending spring national champions, the Grand Canyon University Club Golf team finished a disappointing 7th Sunday at the 2019 NCCGA National Championships. The two-day event – hosted by Purdue University at their spacious on-campus complex in West Lafayette, Indiana – exposed the Lopes to windy, rainy, sub-50-degree weather throughout the tournament. Despite the weather, GCU’s Matt Polivka battled through it to finish in a tie for 3rd place individually.
While a top-ten finish might be impressive for other teams, such a placement seems underwhelming to a Lopes team who’s finished in 1st or 2nd place three times in the last two years at this event.
Following the undesirable finish, Lopes’ Head Coach John Wasson had several ideas as to why his team fell flat this time around.
“I do think that the extreme weather conditions played a bit of a role in the way our team played,” said Wasson. “With that said, we have to realize that every team had to deal with the same conditions, so that wasn’t our biggest problem. Instead, this event helped us identify our need for more experience and better focus moving forward.”
While such experience has been in ample supply over the past few years, the 2019 Lopes’ team featured quite a few new members who have yet to compete on such a big stage.
“We had a pretty young team this time around, and it seemed like that lack of experience impacted how everyone performed,” explained Wasson. “Even though we didn’t finish where we wanted to, this experience will really benefit the younger players so that we can hopefully do better next time.”
Another important take away came from the sobering truths that sometimes only a loss can provide.
“As much as it hurts, I think that falling short was good for us,” said Wasson. “The team might have gotten a little too comfortable coming in first and second at tournaments, so this will hopefully refocus them and light a fire under everybody. I definitely plan on addressing that with our team when we get back in the fall so that they realize we have to stay dialed in to win.”
With these lessons in mind, Wasson knows that there is only one thing left for his team to do.
“We are just going to take the whole experience with a grain of salt, and move forward. All we can do is keep moving forward.”
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