by Alex Agueros, Sports Editor
Mules golf persevered through three rounds of golf at Keth Memorial Golf Course, bagging the Heart of America Invitational title along the way. The team led after day one, and their 865 overall score was good for +13 over par, 14 strokes better than runner-up Arkansas Tech.
The tournament began 8 a.m. Monday, and concluded Tuesday afternoon. Head coach Tim Poe admits the team struggled at times, but worked hard enough for the win.
“If you asked our players overall, it probably wasn’t our greatest performance,” Poe said. “But you can’t ever take away from a win.”
Junior Sam Migdal tied for second, who shot 68 (-3) in the third round, and dropping to second in a one-hole playoff. Junior Cy Mortiz and sophomore Travis Mays followed with an overall +4 and +5, respectively.
Migdal, who opted for his 9-iron shot on hole 18 in the playoff, watched his tee shot roll into the water.
“I hit wedge on hole 18 in regulation, but I just didn’t feel as much wind,” Migdal said. “I just pulled it and it flew on me.”
Keth Memorial Golf Course, boasting a new superintendent as of Oct. 1, received mixed reviews from the team. Migdal praised the greens as the “best he’s ever seen them,” while others, including redshirt sophomore Ted Jones, had to adjust.
“The greens firmed up overnight,” Jones said. “None of us were expecting that.”
Jones, who shot a +9 overall, admits he “grinded” through the tournament, a significant theme for the rest of the team. Freshman Alex Springer shot +11 overall, despite shooting +1 in round three.
“The course played a little tougher today than expected,” Springer said. “I thought it was a little more difficult to make some birdies out there.”
Coach Poe expressed his pride in the course’s condition, but concedes he’s seen it all when it comes to Keith Memorial.
“I’m never surprised by what this little golf course does to kids,” Poe said. “The course has a way of showing its teeth when it needs to.”
If Keth Memorial Golf Course did step up at the right time Tuesday, Mules golf stepped right with it. The team led after Monday’s scores were tallied, and topped 18 other regional opponents. Thanks in part to the large field, Tuesday’s win shot the Mules from fourth place in the season-long conference standings into the top spot.
“You always want to beat as many schools as you can,” Springer said. “So if we can beat them now, it only gives us more confidence.”
The Mules conclude the fall portion of their schedule at the Missouri Western Invitational next Tuesday and Wednesday in St. Joseph, Mo.