Golf coach Steven Klock describes the Central Region Crossover as the best one in seven years to an end. The tournament was the last of five, leaving Augustana with a record of 33-3, according to Klock.
“We are sitting at the top of the pack,” senior Luke Robison said, adding that aside from this season being the team’s best in a long time, it has also been a personal best for him.
For now, the team begins a long break before the spring, when they will attempt their ultimate goal for the season – winning the conference championship and moving on to regionals. According to Klock, the men are third going into the spring.
“The difference between places can be made up in one round,” Klock said.
Underclassmen are the majority of this year’s golf team, with seven freshmen and sophomores out of the total 11 players. Klock, who is only in his third semester of coaching, said this situation gives him an opportunity to establish coaching techniques with the players newly introduced to college athletics.
“Last year, I tried to bring a culture of expecting to compete and being at the top of your league,” Klock said, a mentality he claims the team did not possess before. “The guys grabbed onto that right away. They were hungry for that type of environment.”
Clay Kopplin, who said he has been playing golf since he was “old enough to swing a golf club,” joins the team as one of the incoming freshmen. Although he said he has only experienced Augustana for a short amount of time, his expectations have been exceeded. He said he enjoys being under Klock’s direction, as well as having a support system in his team.
“We are always relying on our teammates to come through with good scores, but at the same time, we are responsible for individually scoring well,” Kopplin said.
Sophomore Tyler Jensvold confirms the dependence on his teammates. Although he said the season has been rough on a personal level, he still called it positive because of the team’s status as the best scoring team in the conference.
According to Kopplin, their closeness means that future goals do not only include each player individually, but the team as a whole.
“I feel that my teammates and I are always improving and all have the same goals, which promotes our future success,” Kopplin said.
Some of their many aspirations for the future include top 20 finishes, according to junior John Grothe, as well as winning individual tournaments. They also hope to move beyond the Midwest and bring national attention to the team.
“Hopefully Augie can bring home a national title soon,” Jensvold said.