By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director
Coach Jacob Hicks believes The Master’s University men’s golf team is on the verge of a breakthrough tournament.
What will such a performance require?
“We’ve got to see more putts fall and eliminate the big numbers,” Hicks said. “Our guys have the fire power to go low.”
Master’s shot an 8-over 296 Saturday during the final round of the Minot State Invitational in North Las Vegas. It was the day’s second lowest score and a fourth-place finish for the Mustangs in the 10-team tournament.
Junior Karsten Briley led the way with a 12-over for the week, good for ninth place individually. He was pleased that the Mustangs bested NAIA No. 7 Rocky Mountain College (MT) in two of the tournament’s three rounds, finishing seven shots behind Rocky overall because of a, well, rocky second round.
“It gives us confidence that we can hang with the best teams in the nation,” Briley said.
Robert Penalber and Jack Dudeck each shot 13-over for the Mustangs, who hadn’t competed since October and might have been dealing with some level of rust.
That won’t be an issue next time. Master’s is scheduled to compete at the Battle at Primm in Primm, Nevada, in nine days.
“It’s great to have these few tournaments pretty close to each other,” Briley said. “I know the guys were itching to get back into competition, to see our hard work pay off. We wanted to put our work to the test.”
The Mustangs may face similarly windy conditions at Primm, a factor that might have played into TMU’s poor second round on Friday when it finished 11 strokes behind Rocky Mountain.
The Mustangs were in second place after one round but dropped to fourth after two.
Briley expects that some of the putts that didn’t fall for TMU on Saturday will fall in the future, and not necessarily because the Mustangs will make any major changes.
“It’s a matter of time,” he said. “We all put in the effort and the work. That’s the way golf is: Sometimes putts fall, sometimes they don’t. We just have to have confidence to know the next one is going to drop.”
TMU’s Josh Kehl shot a 16-over for the tournament, finishing tied for 18th place.