The expectations are lofty for the Sacramento State men’s golf team this year, but according to juniors Riley Hayfield and Luke Kristo, they should be.
“We are a really talented team,” Hayfield said. “I think we have a good chance to win some tournaments this spring.”
Hayfield and Kristo transferred from College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif. Their arrival this year have helped the Hornets to a first-place finish at the Dash Thomas Memorial in Eagle, Idaho, and a second-place finish at the Anteater Invitational in Costa Mesa, Calif.
When asked about how they have impacted the team, head coach Christopher Hall acknowledged the role they have played.
“It helped out a lot,” Hall said. “Winning is their mentality.”
Kristo and Hayfield have been roommates and best friends during their time at College of the Canyons. There, they broke several school records, including a team-low of 15-under par during the Western State Championship match; momentum that carried them to a state championship.
“In the two years that me and Riley were there, we had around 100 wins and like three or four losses,” Kristo said.
But Kristo and Hayfield are not the only one’s breaking records. The team has come together, and it has showed in their play.
“In the fall we put 11 new records in our record books,” Hall said. “I would say this team has just as much talent as teams we have had in the past. The one thing that is different is there are nine guys on the roster capable of shooting good scores.”
Hayfield said that his best accomplishment this year was shooting a 68-69 to open up the Dash Thomas Memorial.
As for Kristo, his best moment since coming to Sac State came with a sixth-place finish in the Ram Master’s Invitational in Ft. Collins, Colo. in September of last year.
Both noted the change in competition they have faced since coming from junior college. While it has made the transition harder, Kristo and Hayfield are glad to be competing with the best.
“This is Division I. All these guys are getting ready to turn pro,” Kristo said. ”They got here for a reason.”
The Hornets are preparing for their upcoming tournament, the Folino Invitational in Industry Hills, Calif.
They have had to battle the changing weather conditions, while maintaining the same schedule, which has made things a bit more difficult.
“We played one round last week,” Hayfield said. “The weather isn’t cooperating right now.”
Kristo noted that they just need to keep at it. Even with the changing weather, the Hornets have maintained their same schedule.
“It’s tough right now with the rain,” Kristo said. ”We just got to stay practicing no matter what. You can lose something so easy and go off if you don’t practice it.”
Hall said the team is back in their groove. After taking nearly three months off, the team fared well at the Anteater Invitational late last month, a trend the team hopes to continue.
“Our goals are lofty, but they are all attainable,” Hall said. ”It all just depends on how much work the guys want to put in.”
The Folino Invitational will take place Feb. 17-18.
Daniel Harrison can be reached on Twitter @SH_Sports