FRESHMEN MAKE THEIR MARKS

Klitzke’s rigorous preparation has yielded big-time success

Freshman Parker Klitzke follows through on a   practice swing during a practice at Bakker Crossing. Photo by: Mike Shafer

Freshman Parker Klitzke follows through on a practice swing during a practice at Bakker Crossing. Photo by: Mike Shafer

JonathAn Heiberger

jjheiberger14@ole.augie.edu

After he played in all five of Augustana’s fall tournaments and tied for third place in the first half of the NSIC conference tournament, freshman golfer Parker Klitzke’s talent on the golf course became apparent.

Klitzke, a Sioux Falls native and Lincoln High School graduate, has been invaluable to Augustana’s golf team this season. Tying for 17th place in his first tournament, Klitzke has since claimed sixth place and 10th place in tournaments.

The NSIC championship is split between the spring and fall seasons, so competitors will continue with the second half on April 11-12.

Golf hasn’t always been Klitzke’s chief passion, however. Though he began golfing around the age of five, Klitzke says he initially preferred baseball and basketball to golf.

After realizing his aptitude for golf in middle school, when he was playing on the high school golf team as an eighth grader, his love for golf vaulted above that for other sports.

During high school, Klitzke was a member of Lincoln’s 2012 state championship team, where he placed fourth individually. Additionally, Klitzke was a four-time letter winner.

Dakota Waverek, another freshman golfer and Klitzke’s roommate, praised his putting ability.

“He stays on the putting green after everybody leaves,” Waverek said. “He’s one of those guys who shows up early and stays late.”

 

In the summer, Klitzke’s golf game increased substantially due to his dedication and his time spent on the course.

On an average weekday, Klitzke said he would “hit balls for probably an hour and a half or two hours, chip and putt for an hour and a half and then go play 18 holes.”

Summer weekends meant playing another 18 holes each day.

In August, Klitzke played in South Dakota’s Men’s Amateur Tournament, where he took 11th place. Senior Drew Trautman, another Augustana golfer finished in eighth.

Klitzke did manage to finish ahead of another Augustana golfer—head coach Steven Klock, who ended in 20th place.

Regarding his mental approach to golf, Klitzke’s method is simple yet efficient. He said he takes “one hole at a time” and tries not to get ahead of himself.

“It all comes down to being prepared,” Klitzke said.

Though he plays hole by hole, Klitzke’s long-term goals never leave his head. When the Augustana golf season began, he wanted to show the rest of the team that he belonged.

Klitzke has fsucceeded in earning the respect of the team, and now, he has much larger goals.

“I want to be able to prove to the rest of the players in the country at the Division II level that I can play with them, too,” Klitzke said. “I want to be able to take my game to the national level.”

Klitzke’s talent, work ethic and love for the game of golf will ensure he leaves a lasting impression at Augustana. Time will tell how far Klitzke’s determination will take him.

Klitzke ended the fall season with a 79th place finish at the Holiday Inn Express Classic. He shot a 36-hole score of 163.

“[I would] hit balls for probably an hour and a half or two hours, chip and putt for an hour and a half and then go play 18 holes.”

Parker Klitzke

 

Langlie already emerging as a leader for the women’s team

Photo by: Mike Shafer

Freshman Sierra Langlie steps up this year for the Women’s golf team. Photo by: Mike Shafer

Jared Rubado

jjrubado14@ole.augie.edu

Freshman Sierra Langlie says she came to Augustana “because of the history [the college] brings.”

Every year, the freshman class brings in new athletes that attempt to carry on Augustana’s tradition of athletic excellence.

Many athletes redshirt their freshman year, but some display such talent that they are thrust into the varsity lineup.

Freshman Sierra Langlie has been one of the latter at Augustana, but her path to Sioux Falls had a few twists.

In Andover, Minnesota, Langie was not only on the golf team, but she was also a vital member of the hockey team.

“My whole life, I thought I’d be playing college hockey, but around tenth grade, I made the decision to focus on golf,” Langlie said. “I love both sports, but I chose golf because it’s a different game every time I step on the course. In hockey, I play the same rink and the same way, but with golf, it’s a different atmosphere.”

Langlie had offers to play college hockey in the northeastern part of the U.S.

When Langlie made the decision to focus on golf, her high school career took off. She was a part of two section championship teams for the Andover Huskies and earned six varsity letters. She also placed ninth overall in the state tournament as a senior and took seventh in her junior year.

“I came to Augie because of the history this school brings to the table, and the coaches here are just amazing,” Langlie said. “I came to Augustana not only to become a better golfer, but to become a better person.”

When she arrived on campus, she didn’t expect to have the type of impact on the golf team or in the NSIC that she did.

“I knew that I was going to have to work hard, but I kept my expectations and my goals high,” Langlie said. “My goal was to earn my spot and be able to travel with the team. We are very young but we have a lot of talent, so for me it was just capitalizing on an opportunity.”

Langlie did not meet her expectations—she exceeded them.

During the fall portion of the golf season, she played well enough to earn a spot on the team for the NSIC playoffs. In that playoff round, she led the field by shooting a score of 155 and carries a seven-stroke lead. She earned NSIC Golfer of the Week honors for her effort.

Langlie has had a tremendous freshman season thus far. Its fall portion ends at the Lindenwood Fall Invitational in St. Charles, Miss. Oct. 20-21.