Coaching change for Vikes golf brings mixed results

As the second term has taken full flight, the Vikes golf team is looking for a more successful 2014 from both their men’s and women’s teams. Filling the boots of a great coach is never easy, but Vikes’ golf team Head Coach Justin Clews has done a tremendous job thus far into the season.

The newly appointed head coach has created a great environment, and the team has delivered. The team’s most recent tournament was at the San Marcos Fall Classic, where the Vikes men’s team finished fourth, with third-year Vike Eric Praught, who totalled a score of 219 over the three-round tournament, leading the charge.

The women’s team recently finished sixth at the Dennis Rose Invitational, with another third-year Vike, Cari Chow, leading the way for the women’s team, shooting a total score of 235 in the three-round tournament.

Although coach Clews was expecting a bit more from his women’s team,  it was their first tournament down in Hawaii, and the conditions were not admirable. Regardless, both teams are looking to improve in the second term, and it starts with hard work and lots of practice.

The men’s team fought their way to the final round at the San Marcos Fall Classic in November, and even bumped themselves up to fourth place with a passionate final round from all of their personnel. The team jumped from fifth and slid into fourth at the very end of the tournament.

The Vikes’ highest individual performance came from Eric Praught with an impressive average score of 73 per round, slotting him into a tie for ninth in the tournament. Sean Hay was right behind him, finishing tied for 12th, with an average score of just over 73.

The men’s team next competes on Feb. 2, as they travel to San Diego, Calif. to participate in the Cougar Invitational.

Chow led the way for the Vikes women at the Hawaii tournament, posting an average round score just over 78, slotting her into 12th on the individual leaderboard, as the Vikes’ best score. Veteran Brynn Tolmie had a solid first two rounds, but unfortunately fell back to nineteenth over the course of the last round. Chow says Clews wasn’t too disappointed.

“I think overall he was pleased, more or less with certain players,” Chow said. “It wasn’t good or bad; it was a good experience for a lot of girls. They learned a lot.” The women’s team now prepares for their next tournament, the Point Loma Invitational in San Diego from Feb. 9–11. Chow says that the team is working with a sports psychologist and looking at the mental side of golf to help the team improve.

It has been a year of adjusting and redefining, but the Vikes golf team has collectively turned the season into a success thus far, and the coaching of new mentor Justin Clews has played a pivotal role in the team’s success. With a head coaching change comes struggles in adjustment and identity, but the team has managed to succeed in the new environment.

Both teams are preparing for their next tournaments in February, and they are striving for a better tournament than their previous ones. Although the team fared very well in the first term, Chow and the rest of the Vikes golf team are looking for a more successful 2014.

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