The Fall 2015 NCCGA National Championship will see a familiar face in Iowa State, the return of a powerhouse in Virginia, and a young team in Notre Dame Club Golf. How did these teams get to this point? The champions of the Colonial and and Twin Cities Region, as well as the runner-up in Indiana, are all hoping to make their mark at TPC San Antonio. Here's their story of the season and how they overcame their opponents to clinch a spot in San Antonio.
ISU Back In Familiar Territory
The Iowa State Golf Club, a perennial powerhouse in the Central Region and now in the Twin Cities Region, represents one of the oldest club teams in the NCCGA. Although they only joined the NCCGA in the Fall of 2013, Iowa State’s club golf team has been around since the mid-2000s. Led by senior Matt Dohse, who has helped or played in five national championships and served on the NCCGA student leadership team, Iowa State has grown into one of the largest club golf organizations in the NCCGA. Peaking at around 120 members last year, Iowa State has plenty of players to choose from for tournament teams. Each semester, roughly 24 of the players are selected for the tournament teams and compete for a spot in the Regional tournaments.
Dohse hosts team practices every Thursday and gives away prizes to incentivize members to attend practice. The team also tries to organize another one or two practices per week including intrasquad competitions. The team’s practice paid off in their first tournament this semester as the team posted a 376 on the second day en route to a 15 stroke victory.
Led by David Stein, a seasoned veteran of the NCCGA, Iowa State boasts a roster that is playing in its second National Championship as a team. David posted scores of 75-72-70 in the Minnesota State Amateur over the summer on his way to a tie for third place. With a player who can potentially contend for the coveted red jacket (awarded to the individual medalist), Iowa State will have an edge on many teams. For two of Iowa State’s players, including Dohse, this National Championship will be their last. Iowa State will also lose three more players at the end of next semester. With this much on the line for the graduating seniors, look for Iowa State to be up there on the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon.
University of Virginia
Cavaliers Win Colonial for Bid to San Antonio
After a dry-spell last season, the University of Virginia team roared back in the Colonial region to claim its automatic bid to Nationals. After finishing in second in the first tournament of the season, the Cavaliers stormed back by beating runner-up Hampden-Sydney College by over forty strokes. Team President Bryan Carter says the team lost several incredible players in the past seasons, but was able to recruit valuable freshmen as well as a former varsity player.
“This, along with increased participation, has greatly improved our score in tournament,” he said. For the first semester in two years, the team held qualifying rounds before regional tournaments. Carter says that his biggest challenge was “having to cut some really good players.”
Now that the team has achieved its goal of obtaining a bid to San Antonio, winning is the only target for the Cavaliers: “We feel that is we can play as well as we did in our second regional it would be very hard for another team to beat us!” As far as preparation is concerned, Carter says “It’s just business as usual- team practice once a week and as much play as possible.” Hopefully, the team’s attendance of the Grizzlies-Spurs game on Saturday night will inspire them to give it their all!
University of Notre Dame
Youth leading the way for the Fightin' Irish
If you’re looking for a team to pick that might have the best team chemistry at Nationals, then Notre Dame’s Club Golf team is a great pick. Each season their club president, Brian Miller, organizes a team trip, club championship, and team match play tournament. Throughout the year, Notre Dame’s club players have the opportunity to put their game to the test in many different situations. Players can gain experience taking each other on in the match play championship or try to beat the rest of the club members in the club championship. These opportunities and the annual team trip help Notre Dame’s team to strike a good balance between competitive and recreational golf for their 20+ members.
Notre Dame will field one of the youngest teams at Nationals with only three upperclassmen playing. Additionally, Notre Dame’s players must balance the rigorous coursework at Notre Dame with their preparations for Nationals. Brian believes that this National Championship will serve as a big opportunity for the club team members to bond and gain valuable experience for the future. Five of the eight players from Notre Dame are underclassmen so Brian hopes that the club can build on this experience to contend in future National Championships. Keep an eye on Notre Dame’s club team in future semesters to improve as its members mature.
**Olivia DeFouchier and Nick Heyrman are NCCGA Student Leaders. Contact them on Twitter @NCCGA.