Western aims for top of pack at UCO Invitational

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“Experience the Elegance, Live the Tradition.”

That’s the motto of the Gaillardia Country Club, and that’s the site of the Griffon Men’s golf’s next tournament in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: the Broncho Invitational.

No, that’s not a spelling error.

The Griffons probably won’t experience too much elegance, but hopefully they can live a new winning tradition.

Greg Dillon is in his second year as head coach. He said that his goals don’t differ much from last season to now.

“The goals have not changed, but I feel we are getting closer to getting there,” Dillon said. “[First] Get to a postseason regional tourney, [Second] Win Conference and [Third] Compete at the highest level of Division II, the National Golf Championship.”

Half the battle in the game of golf is beating the other teams – the other is beating the course.

The stats on Gaillardia Country Club are a 72 will get you a par, it measures 7,340 yards, has a slope of 128 and has a rating of 74.7.

The Griffons look to make the jump to a top five finish in a tournament as the Griffons have been stuck between sixth and eighth in every tournament this season.

In the previous tournament, “The Dave Falconer Classic” in Danville, Arkansas, Missouri Western golfer Corey Knight finished tied for seventh overall at -1 under par.

He shot 75 in round one and had an amazing second round, dropping a whole five strokes and finishing with 70. Finishing at 145 only put him four strokes away from tying for first, which was set at 141 strokes by a Henderson State golfer.

If Knight can keep that momentum rolling into the Broncho Classic, it would be a huge boost for Missouri Western.

Dillon knows that Knight are on the verge breaking into that first place finish.

“[Corey] is a very aggressive player and a very confident player,” Dillon said. “He is not afraid to hit a challengeing shot, or a tricky putt or chip. He needs to maintain that aggressiveness and confidence. Those traits will carry him to a win.”

Also, if Griffon golfer Ryan Hand can pick up where he left off in the first semester, this could be a breakout tournament for the Griffons.

Hand scored 146 at the St. Joseph Country Club, which is one of the more challenging courses on the Missouri Western schedule.

The men’s golf team has struggled with getting all the golfers on the same page this season. If they can get Knight, Hand and Jacob Rudosky going together, we could see our first top five of the season, and that would be a huge step in the right direction for Dillon.

“We always try to prepare to win each tournament we play in,” Dillon said. “Our team only finished 14 strokes off the lead. I feel that we can find those 14 strokes…The more times that we can get ourselves in a position to win, the more we are going to be comfortable to be in that position and pull off a win. That is what I am expecting at UCO.”

The team hosting the tournament, the University of Central Oklahoma, is a very tough opponent and ranked tenth in the nation, but just fell from seventh in the nation.

They look to be favorites in their home derby. The last time the Griffons met up with the Bronchos was at Northeastern Oklahoma’s tournament in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on September 22-23.

The Bronchos dominated the tournament by nine strokes under second place West Texas A&M and a solid 37 below Missouri Western.

Western looks for a top five finish as they head to Edmond, Oklahoma on March 23 and 24 for the UCO Invitational.

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