Men’s golf struggles at RMAC Championships, top-five finish needed at regionals

May 4, 2015

Brandon Applehans
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For the men’s golf team, the spring has been a frustrating and up-and-down season.

After day one of the Western New Mexico Mustang Intercollegiate on April 6, the team finished second. Junior Zach Tripp led the way on day two, shooting a 70 in the final round and claiming second place. The team finished fourth overall out of 16 teams.

But at the RMAC Championships April 20-21, the team underachieved, according to senior Patrick Skakel who finished fourth with a score of 218. The Mountain Lions finished fifth overall out of 10 teams.

“We’ve [had] a few really solid events and beaten some top teams,” Skakel said. “But to finish fifth in the conference was obviously very disappointing. We all know we’re a lot better than that.”

Head coach Phil Trujillo said Skakel did all he could to help lead his team.

“Patrick played well there last year so we anticipated him having a good tournament,” he said. “He finished second last year and he got off to a good start after 36 holes.”

“He’s tough mentally and physically, stays positive and has a never fail attitude,” Trujillo said. “He had a few mishits on the final day that cost him but he kept fighting and tried hard to get the win.”

The team’s focus is now set for the NCAA Division II West/South Central Region Championships May 4-6. The team must finish in the top five at regionals to advance to the NCAA National Championships May 18-22.

Trujillo talked with his team, discussing the short memory and turn-around performance they must have.

“We spoke about our play a couple days [after the RMAC Championships] and now we’ll focus on trying to grab one of the five spots that go on to the NCAA’s,” he said. “[This is a] task that this team can accomplish.”

“We need to play solid golf and take each hole one at a time,” he continued. “It’s a very demanding golf course, so we’ll have to stay focused for all 54 holes.”

Skakel sees regionals as an opportunity to silence any doubters of the team.

“I think a lot of the teams in our conference will be writing us off after the conference championship, but we know we’re good enough to advance,” said Skakel.

“We all realize that talent we have on the team and it’s just a matter of putting it together for three days,” he said. “We’ve identified the areas we can improve in and know that we will be right there if we do that.”

The regional championship begins May 4 in Vallejo, Calif. The team tees-off at 8:30 a.m.