Hand shines as Griffons host men’s golf tournament

Griffon golfer Ryan Hand takes a swing during the Holiday Inn Express Classic at St. Joseph Country Club on Tuesday. *Submitted Photo
[caption id="attachment_25607" align="alignnone" width="168"]Griffon golfer Ryan Hand takes a swing during the Holiday Inn Express Classic at St. Joseph Country Club on Tuesday. *Submitted Photo Griffon golfer Ryan Hand takes a swing during the Holiday Inn Express Classic at St. Joseph Country Club on Tuesday. *Submitted Photo[/caption] The Griffons finished in 12th in the MWSU Holiday Inn Express Classic, which they hosted at St. Joseph Country Club. Western shot a 914 for the weekend, with 299, 314 and 301 scores in the three rounds of the event. “We could’ve played better, but guys didn’t give up,” Griffon golfer Ryan Hand said. “They grinded it out and just did the best we could.” Hand led the Western competitors with rounds of 70, 74 and 73. He finished in fourth place among the individuals in the field. “I kept the ball in-play and hit it pretty well,” Hand said. “Just had a few errant swings that cost me a few shots in the end. That’s golf though. You can always look back and find out where you missed shots.” Hand, although that is a great result for him and his team, knows he can do even better as in this same tournament last season he was able to finish first. Hand is very familiar with the course, having played several tournaments there in the past, but on aspect that made this event different was how dark the course was as the second round was wrapping up Monday evening. “It has been a while since I’ve played in that much darkness,” Hand said. Hand embraced that challenge however and flourished with his last hole of the day. “We all hit our second shots [on the 18th hole] and only saw two of [of the four],” Hand said. “I was just assuming mine was on the green, [it was], got up there and couldn’t really see the hole from 20-feet so I just kind of judged it and hit it and it actually fell in [for eagle].” Fellow-Griffon Jakob Rudosky shot 75, 73 and 78 and was able to finish in a tie for 27th. “Jakob played well,” Hand said. “He kept the ball in play.” Corey Knight, Drew Lagan and Dylan Queen rounded the participants for Western with 235, 240 and 244 respectively. “All the guys on the team,” Hand said. “Even if it's not going well, none of us are going to give up. We are just going to keep fighting till the last stroke.” Missouri Western will be back in action on Monday in Florence, Alabama against North Alabama. “We’ll be ready this week in Alabama,” Hand said. “We just need to keep our heads up and give our all again, just keep grinding. Golf is golf, it’s going to happen.” The event will be a two-day event and will wrap up the team’s fall season.

Griffons make presence known early

Men's golf hit the ground running early in their fall season. During their first match at the JR Watkins Invitational, the Griffons finished tied for 5th with total score of 601. Senior Ryan Hand lead Western with a score of 146, tying him for 11th place in the tournament. The Griffons found themselves in the top-ten again as they finished 6th overall with a total score of 919 in the Missouri Southern Men's Fall Invitational. Hand set the pace for Western with his score of 222 and 9th place finish. In the third match of the season, at the Northeastern State Golf Classic, the Griffons had yet another solid finish of 11th place with a total score of 922. This time senior Corey Knight lead Western with a score of 216 and a 4th place finish.

Griffons are up and down; settle for 10th place

The Griffon Men’s Golf team got an extended weekend while playing in the Broncho Invitational. The Griffons played two polar opposite days. but settled with a 10th place finish.  The tournament of the best midwest Division II golf programs teed off at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning. The drive to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was a little further than their female counterparts trip to the St. Joseph Country Club. Day one was a rocky go for the Griffons, as the team fell to 13th on the leaderboards. A bright spot for the team was freshmen Jacob Rudosky who lead Missouri Western, shooting a 75 on the 72-par course. That 75 tied him for 28th individually overall. Junior Ryan Hand was close behind with a 77 for the day. Coach Greg Dillon pointed out that the conditions were less than ideal with up to 16 mph wind gusts affecting the flight path of the golf balls. On day one, the home team would claim the top of the leader boards; the University of Central Oklahoma held a five-shot lead over second place University of Central Missouri and eight shots over third place Missouri Southern State University. UCO was lead by Sophomore Ryan Purser who shot an outstanding 68 in round one. Day two proved to be a day of redemption for Missouri Western. Three out of the five golfers lowered their score from day one. Senior Scott Sheldon was the biggest mover as he picked up his game and lost six strokes in day two. He went from shooting 81 in day one to 75 in day two. “Overall, it was a disappointing week both for myself and the team. We didn't play well on the first day which put us in a bad position. We played much better the second day, but we need to start bringing our game both days,” Sheldon said. Other notable improvements were Corey Knight, who dropped from a 79 day one to a 76 day two and Hand who dropped from a 79 day one to a 77 day two. In day two of the Broncho Invitational, the Griffons posted the second best score which helped them jump three positions to finish tenth overall, but were only one stroke away from tying for the seventh position. The Griffons 306 on day two was only bested by Southern Nazarene University’s 304. In other stats, Rudosky finished tied for fourth in individual birdies in the tournament. “There were a lot of positives on day two and we beat a lot of top teams. This team is very close to getting over the hump, and if everyone could pick up one shot we would be getting those top five finishes,” Dillon said. The men’s golf team is still a very young team, but made huge strides with their resilient day two performance. They are in action again and look to turn the corner April 6 in Mountain Home, Arkansas, for a Henderson State University hosted tournament.  

Western aims for top of pack at UCO Invitational

“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.

Griffons finish strong in MIAA Tournament

Both the Griffon men’s and women’s golf participated in the MIAA post-season tournament on April 21 to 23. Out of the 12  teams competing in the tournament, the Griffon men finished in seventh. During the first round of the tournament, the Griffon men shot their lowest round of the season, which left them in sixth place after the first round of the tournament, having fired 301. That was three strokes better than Central Oklahoma, which ultimately finished first. As an individual, junior Scott Sheldon had a good round, finishing In 12th place with 73. James O’ Brien, Evan McCarthy, Tyler Gast and Derek Hawkins finished the first round with 75, 76 , 77 and 82, respectively. After day one of the tournament, the Griffon women were in seventh place, and fired a total of 363. The women were led by Callie Wilson, who had 81 in the first round. As an individual, she sat in seventh place overall. Anna Kloeppel, Madison Romjue, Amber Chivington and Shelby Stone finished off day one with 91, 95, 96 and 98, respectively. Men’s golf shot a solid round of 303 on day two of the tournament, making their total 604 after the second day. Central Missouri was leading at the time with a day two total of 571. Individually, Sheldon and MaCarthy were tied for 12th place, each having 149. Gast, O’Brien and Hawkins followed with 150, 156, and 167, respectively. The Griffon women finished with a solid 372 on the second day, making their day two total 735. UCO led the event with a day two total of 641. Wilson continued to lead the Griffons with a day two total of 167. Romjue, Kloeppel, Chivington and Stone finished day two with 182, 189, 197, and 199, respectively. On the final tournament, day the Griffon men shot a solid 302, bringing their total for the entire tournament to 906, landing them in seventh place out of 12. UCO won the tournament with 867. As individuals, Sheldon finished in 13th place overall with 223, McCarthy in 18th with 226, Gast in 23rd with 227 and O’Brien and Hawkins finished with 233 and 241, respectively. The Griffon women finished in seventh place out of nine teams after day three, scoring 1,097. UCO was the winner of the women’s tournament, they had a score of 973. Wilson continued to lead the Griffons and finished in 10th as an individual with 252. Romjue finished in 21st with 268, Kloeppel in 29th with 278. Chivington and Stone finished with 300 and 301, respectively. Wilson was overcoming a back injury--she stepped up and led the team. “All through Spring, I had been underperforming to say the least,” Wilson said, “It was nice not only to play to my potential, but to place in comparison to the rest of the field.” Amber Chivington was excited to play the tournament, and was just grateful for the opportunity “It was just amazing being there with the team. We knew it was going to be tough, so we went into it knowing that,” Chivington said. “It was an experience that we want to build on for the next year and do even better.” Head coach Greg Dillon was very pleased with how the tournament played out. “The tournament went really well on the men’s side,” Dillon said, “The women played well also. We still have some adjustments to do, but I can see that we have a great deal to work with.” The Griffons will be saying goodbye to Shelby Stone, Evan McCarthy, Tyler Gast and Derek Hawkins. Dillon expressed how proud he was of the seniors. “At the end of the tournament, I felt optimism and pride,” Dillon said. “Seniors were really inspirational. They could have taken the last half of the season and played with little emotion or determination, but they didn’t.”