Pirates Golf placed 5th of 10 in the NJCAA DII Fall Preview that was held in Joplin, MO, at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club. This will also be the host site for the NJCAA National Championship this coming spring. "This was a really good tournament for the guys to see just how hard college golf is at this level. It's really the first time this group has seen this type of field on a championship quality course," commented Coach Craig Sager.
Winning the event was perennial power Kirkwood Community College, who placed 4th in the 2019 NJCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship. Second place in the event was Mississippi Gulf Coast, last year's 3rd place team in the national tournament. "We had a chance to go out and prove to a lot of people that we belong in the conversation and we just didn't produce. When teams like Kirkwood and Miss. Gulf Coast show up a tournament immediately gets a good vibe. We just got off to another slow start and took ourselves out of it after the first round. The old cliché, you can't win a tournament on the first day, but you can sure as heck lose one, rang true again," detail Sager. After one round, NCMC sat in 6th place, 20 strokes off the pace.
Pirates' golfers now see the competition they have to compete against to reach their lofty goals. "As a team, we just aren't good enough at hitting greens in regulation to compete with those guys. Sure, we can finish in the middle of the leaderboard, but that is a bad place to sit and be content. Guys have to take these results personal and work harder every day. This begins with making sure all of your equipment and clothing is packed and matches the forecast, then shifts to handling your business on the range and during the practice round and finally you have to hit fairways, greens, and make putts. When you deviate from that plan, you are just asking to struggle. Sure, you can mask issues for a while, but eventually those shortcomings are exposed. You only get so many chances to prove yourself in this game. You have to produce or it will leave you behind in a hurry," explained Sager.
Individually, here is how the Pirates finished in the 52-player field over three rounds.
T11 Martin Stegberg (+16)
T11 Pirmin Kamm (+16)
T21 Fredrik Hersley (+21)
T31 Job van Nieuwkerk (+31)
46 Van Barr (+51)
Next action for the Pirates will be at the College of the Ozarks Fall Invitational on October 14-15. "The tournament at Buffalo Ridge will be another solid field on a tough track. I'm guessing we'll know when we get to the first tee who came to play and who is going through the motions," concluded Sager.