No seniors? No problem. The South Dakota State women’s golf team enters the 2013-14 season with a balanced and experienced team with three juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen on the roster.
“It’s a very balanced team, and the competition for the top five spots going into this year is something that is going to benefit us,” 11th year head coach Jared Baszler said. “This is arguably the deepest team we have ever had at South Dakota State talent-wise. Despite losing Morgan (Fitts), we are a deeper, more balanced team, with just more numbers in general, and more quality numbers. So, I’m looking forward to what this season can bring. We are going to surprise some people and I think the girls are going to surprise themselves.”
A trio of juniors—Amber Houser, Alli Plath and Myranda Dunmire—will provide the leadership in 2013-14.
Houser finished the 2012-13 season with a 83.39 scoring average and is tied for the most top-25s of the returning golfers (2).
“Amber has always been a really steady player,” Baszler said. “She has a really good short game and a good putter. She is a really good leader for our team.”
Plath competed in six events last season, posting an 86.59 scoring average. Her top finish of 25th came at the CSU Bakersfield Spring Invitational.
“Alli gets off the tee really well,” Baszler said. “When she plays that game, where she’s in the middle of the fairway, that’s when she is going to play her best golf. Her short-iron game is really good too.”
Dunmire dropped her scoring average by six points from a year ago, posting a 86.91 scoring average.
“Myranda has improved a tremendous amount since she got here as a freshman,” Baszler said. “Her ball striking is very good and her ability to keep the ball in play is one of her strengths. If here scores continue to go down, she has a chance to play some good golf for us.”
Last season’s freshman class got a lot of work in over the course of the year, and looks to build upon on that foundation in their sophomore campaigns. Brianna Janu and Sydney MacDonald look to solidify their spots in the Jacks’ top five.
In her freshman season, Janu posted a pair of top-25 finishes and an 85.15 scoring average in all nine events.
“Brianna reminds me a lot of Morgan (Fitts), a very powerful player who can hit the ball a mile. She has the ability to hit some good shots onto the green because she has a short club in her hand,” Baszler said. “She is really good with her ball striking, and she has definitely made that jump you often see from freshman to sophomore year. Her short game has greatly improved from last year to this year and, if that continues to happen, then scores will go down for her.”
MacDonald posted the second-best scoring average on the team last year with an 84.88 playing in all nine events, and two top-25 finishes.
“Sydney is an all-around good player. She has a lot of tools in her bag and is a really solid ball striker,” Baszler said. “She controls her ball flight really well, which not a lot of women’s players can’t do. She has the ability to hit it pretty far, has a good iron game and is pretty good in the short-game area too. She also has the ability to make a lot of birdies.”
The incoming freshmen class adds three quality golfers to the mix—Islamiah Fuad, Hallie Getz, and Megan Mingo.
Fuad, from Perak, Malaysia, was a four-time high school’s Sports Woman of the Year, and won the 2011 Penang Ladies Amateur Open.
“ ‘Is’ has been a joy so far this year. She had never been in the U.S. until about 10 days before classes started. You would have thought she had been here her whole life with the way she has handled everything,” Baszler said. “She is a very accomplished player. She has a very good golf swing, is a very good ball striker, hits a lot of iron shots really close, and has a quiet competitiveness about her that I really like to see. She is one of the better putters on the team, and her putting stroke and her ability to make short- to mid-length puts is one of her strengths.”
Getz finished 14th at Class AA SD State Tournament in 2010, 6th in 2011 and individual medalist in 2012 and 2013. The Pierre native was also a three-time Class AA All-State team selection.
“Hallie is one of the more decorated South Dakota preps we’ve ever signed. She has an all-around game, hits it pretty far and can control her ball flight,” Baszler said. “She has a good iron game, and hits a lot of iron shots really close. Hallie is one of those who can make a lot of birdies in short order.”
Mingo was a two-time South Dakota Golf Association (SDGA) Junior Champion and a 15-time high school tournament champion and 26-time SDGA Southeast Division tournament champion out of Yankton.
“Megan is really steady, steady with her emotions, steady with her golf swing, steady with anything she does in and out of golf. She is so stoic with her approach to the game of golf.,” Baszler said. “She is a really good ball striker and she has the ability to hit long irons better than anyone else on the team.”