After 373 days since their seasons were cancelled, the Bulldog Men’s and Women’s Golf teams took to the course for the first time in 2021.
The new season began slightly earlier for the men’s team, as they travelled to Old Hickory, Tenn. for the Music City Invitational on Mar. 15 and 16.
Day one of the invitational went well for Ferris, scoring a 294 as a team to tie for fourth in the 17-team field. Thomas Hursey led the Bulldogs with a 71 (-1), followed by Trent Barth and Nathan Kraynyk both shooting a 74 (+2). Mitchell Gelk and Daniel Shattuck rounded out the team card with 75 (+3) and 78 (+6) round scores respectively.
“Getting back to competition felt great.” Hursey said via message. “You can’t simulate the feeling of pressure situations in tournaments, so getting that feeling was refreshing.”
The Bulldogs elevated on their strong start in round two on Saturday, posting a seven-stroke improvement (287) to place third overall behind host Trevecca Nazarene and fellow GLIAC competition Northwood. Dan Shattuck led Ferris in round two with a 70 (-2), followed by Hursey (71), Kraynyk (73), Barth (74), and Gelk (79).
“I was really happy with our team’s performance.” Hursey said. “We have a lot of solid players on our team that I know are capable of doing big things this year.”
Four days later, the Bulldogs women’s team joined the men’s squad to attend the Saginaw Valley State Invitational in Lexington, Ky. last weekend.
Both teams came out firing in Saturday’s opening round at Hermitage Golf Course, with the women posting a seventh place 329 and the men placing third with a 292.
The Bulldogs women’s team were powered by a four-over round from Alayna Eldred, which tied for fifth best individually in the field. Elaina Derose followed with an 11th ranked 78, with Abby Grevel (87), Mackenzie Dale (88), and Lauren Kempf (90) rounding out the +41 team total for day one.
“It was a feeling of pure joy and appreciation.” Eldred said regarding returning to competition. “The whole tournament, I tried to take it all in and enjoy every moment.”
For the men, Hursey continued his sizzling start with a 68 (-4) to lead the entire field individually after the opening 18 holes. Nathan Kraynyk followed suit with a season best 70 (-2), placing him tied for third in the individual standings. Adam Madzri (75), Shattuck (79), and Barth (86) rounded out the Bulldog card.
“I was just staying patient and taking each shot for what it was.” Hursey said on his hot opening round. “The two PB and J’s I ate during the round probably helped a few more putts go in.”
Ferris finished strong day two, with the women moving up to finish tied for fifth overall after an improved 317 round and the men maintaining the third place finish following a 291 score.
Eldred turned in her card following another +4 round to finish tied for fourth, followed by Grevel with a +6, Derose with a +9, Dale with +10 and Kempf with a +11. The Bulldogs gained two spots in the final round, finishing only behind Tiffin, Wayne State, Northwood, and Saginaw Valley State in the 17-team field.
“There were a lot of positives to take away from this event.” Eldred said. “Going from the simulator to playing on grass is quite an adjustment, especially the short game. The more days we spend on the grass, the better it will get.”
For the men, Hursey finished third overall in the field following a one-over final round, with Kraynyk right behind tied for fifth following his 73 round score. Madzri fronted the Bulldogs with a team best 71 final round to finish at two over on the tournament, with Shattuck and Barth scoring +4 and +2 respectively in the final 18.
After reflecting on the first tournament adjustments with COVID-19 protocols, Hursey believes the team is focused beyond simply getting on the course.
“Our team has done a great job of blocking out the negativity towards the COVID-19 situation and focusing on the tournament at hand. We know that this year is different with the protocols but we’re still out there to win no matter the situation. We’re still not satisfied and we’ll keep that mindset the rest of the year.”
The Bulldogs will look to continue this great start in their upcoming contests at the Findlay Invitational for the women on March 22 and 23, and the Cav Classic on April 5 and 6 for the men.