After losing its top senior class in the NCAA Division I-era, the South Dakota State men’s golf team struggled at times during the 2009-10 season. However, with a young core of talent gaining experience, the future could be bright for the Jackrabbits.
“We’ve got a lot of young talent; we don’t have any seniors,” head coach Jared Baszler said. “We had a lot of young guys get a lot of experience last year.”
“The sky is the limit as far as our potential goes. It’s just a matter of what they want to do with it.”
Junior Nolan Meyer competed in every event and had the team’s best scoring average last season at 76.64 in 28 rounds. He posted three top-25 finishes. Meyer also tied for the lowest 18-hole score of the season with a 69 in the second round at the Mizzou Tiger Intercollegiate. Meyer won the South Dakota Golf Association Men’s Match Play Championship this past summer.
Baszler said, “He has a lot of physical ability. I expect him to have a really good year as a junior.”
Junior Brian Wynia saw more rounds last year. He competed in eight events and compiled a scoring average of 78.63 in 22 rounds. His best finish was a tie for seventh at the Jackrabbit Invitational, where he shot a 220 (78-73-69). His seventh place finish was the men’s best individual finish of the season.
“Brian Wynia had a lot of solid finishes in his first two years here,” said Baszler. “He has the ability to be one of our better players.”
The Jacks brought in four freshmen for the 2009-10 campaign – Kyle Cooper, Parker Edens, Greg Fehrman and David Smith – and they each saw significant playing time.
Edens established himself as a regular on SDSU’s five-man tournament roster, competing in every event while carding a 77.78 scoring average in 28 rounds. His best finish of the season came at the Jackrabbit Invitational, where he tied for 11th with a 222 (76-75- 71).
Smith, a U.S. Amateur qualifier in the summer of 2009, performed well in his college debut at the Fairway Club Invitational. The Plymouth, Minn., native, who was competing as an individual, finished in a tie for 14th after shooting a 218 (74-71-73).
Smith competed in six events, compiling a scoring average of 78.76 in 17 rounds. He shot the lowest 36-hole (145) and 54-hole (218) scores amongst the Jackrabbit players in the fall season.
Cooper played in five events last year. He tied for 19th at the Bill Ross Intercollegiate after shooting a 227 (81-72-74). Cooper averaged 77.50 in 14 rounds.
Fehrman competed in five events with a scoring average of 76.80 in 15 rounds. He tied for 19th at the Hawkeye Invitational (Iowa) shooting a 222 (73-76-73).
Junior Matthew Erickson competed in three events, posting an 81 average in eight rounds.
The Jackrabbits also add two freshmen this fall, Hudson Carpenter and Lukas Davison. Carpenter, from Stillwater Minn, was the top ranked junior golfer in Minnesota. Davison, from Fargo, N.D., was a three-time all-state golfer, and he led his conference in scoring average as a senior.
SDSU shot its low 18- (301), and 54-hole (908) team scores at the Hawkeye Invitational. The Jacks’ best 36-hole score was a 603 at the Mizzou Tiger Intercollegiate. The Jacks’ finished seventh at both the Jackrabbit Invitational and the Hawkeye Invitational, their best team finishes of the season. SDSU had a scoring average of 307.39 in 28 rounds.
The Jackrabbit men finished eighth at The Summit League Championships, just seven strokes away from finishing in the top five.
“I think we have a chance to be really good. Conference-wise, the teams to beat last spring lost a lot of kids,” said Baszler.
The Jacks have five scheduled events for the fall and five scheduled events for the spring, including the annual Dakota Cup.
The SDSU men’s and women’s golf teams are hosting the Jackrabbit Invitational in Primm, Nev. March 14 and 15. The men are playing the 7,065-yard, par-71 Desert Course.