Golf teams wrap up season, look forward to next fall

Clifton Jones

With the season over for both men and women’s golf, the two teams can look toward next season to build on what has been a successful year. Even though both teams didn’t come away with a conference championship, they finished their season well. 

The men finished their season by placing fourth in the American Sky Championship, with junior Jordan Weir winning the conference championship as an individual.

Weir said he had no idea that he was close to winning the championship, even with his team around him as he finished.

“I was more relieved in that I finally have won an event for Sac State, because I have been so close in the past two years,” Weir said.

Weir received an invite to the NCAA Regional on Thursday by winning the American Sky Championship tournament.

However, Weir said he knows the responsibility he and fellow junior Jordan Swanson will have next season as seniors.

“We will look to be more consistent on the golf course and continue to work hard every day after this season is done,” Weir said.

Men’s golf head coach Christopher Hall said he will miss senior golfer Ryan Williams’ easygoing attitude with his teammates.

“I will miss his attitude and demeanor on and off the golf course, especially with how well he gelled with the team this season,” Hall said. “He really helped me a lot with how practice was conducted during the season.”

Weir said he would have liked to have finished the season with his team in Washington but he is more than happy to spend the weekend before finals with Williams.

“It would have been nice to go back to the regional with my team, but it’s still great to have Ryan with me this Thursday,” Weir said.

Even after playing with an injured shoulder in the last four tournaments, Beverly still tied in 37th place in the conference tournament with a 54-hole total of 80-75-75, 230.

After his brother left the team midway through the season, Owen Taylor battled through the spring season finishing in the top 30 three times, including tying for 18th in the American Sky Championship April 29-May 1.

Swanson finished the spring season in the top 30 three times as well, including a third-place finish at the Winchester Classic April 19-21. The third place finished was his best finish this season with a 3-under-par 75-70-68, 213.

The women finished their season in fifth at the Big Sky Conference championship. The team was led by senior Kercia Brakel shooting a 1-over-par 73-71-71, 217.

Brakel finished the tournament nine shots behind medalist Paige Crawford of the Montana State Bobcats.

With the season over, both seniors – Brakel and Williams – can leave this year with their heads held high.

It was a total team effort for the women to finish fifth in the Big Sky Conference tournament with four of Sac State’s golfers to finish in the top 30; the only golfer that didn’t finish inside the top 30 was freshman golfer Natalie Bodnar.

However, junior Lisa Persson found herself in a tailspin from the No. 1 golfer on the team to the fifth golfer on the roster. Persson had a tough spring season in which the only top 20 finish for her came in the Big Sky Conference tournament.

However, besides Brakel and Persson, fellow junior Tiffany Nichols has helped lead the team by example. Nichols has come into her own in the spring season, finishing in the top 20 in two out of five tournaments, including a top-10 finish when she tied for ninth place at the Folino Invitational with a 15-over-par 79-75-74, 228.

After finishing fifth in the Folino Invitational, sophomore Sagee Palavivatana has struggled to land in higher than 20th place. However, Palavivatana led the team this season in average first-round scoring with a 78.

Bodnar, the lone Hornet that finished lower than 38th place in the conference tournament, had a solid freshman year in which her best finish came in the fall season when she tied for 19th place at the Firestone Grill College Invitational. She finished the tournament with a 25-over-par 81-79-77, 238. 

Although Brakel’s season is done this year, Williams still has NCAA Regional coming up later in May with Weir. Williams is focused on maybe his last tournament of this season.

“It is pretty cool to end my career with Jordan in my second NCAA Regional because I didn’t think I was going to make it in as an at-large bid,” Williams said. 

Both teams will have relatively deep teams because each team will only lose one player due to graduation.

The men will have three players coming off redshirt years to be redshirt freshman with another incoming freshman at the start of the fall season. Hall will also have three upperclassmen and the standout Beverly as a sophomore player.

The men’s Beverly had a surprising breakout season for the Hornets which earned him a fifth-time traveling spot with the team on Oct. 22-23. Hall will look for Beverly to continue to improve into a win next season for him.

“Aaron had the unique experience in that he traveled in almost every tournament this season,” Hall said. “I expect him to come in here and compete and do well enough to win a couple tournaments.”

Men and women’s golf will reload looking to make a name for themselves in the 2013-14 season.


Clifton can be reached on Twitter at @jonesSHsports