ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
For Tabor golf coach Jeremy Glanzer, spring doesn’t mean starting a new season as much as it means resuming the season begun in fall.
College golf has both a fall and spring season, and Glanzer feels his young team is ready to take its game to the next level after a solid start in fall. The Jays have already competed in three tournaments since resuming play in mid-February.
“The key difference (between the fall and spring seasons) is that the freshmen have some experience now and have a number of tournaments under their belt,” Glanzer said. “They’re playing a lot better and have more experience and confidence. A couple of them are shooting some good scores.”
Freshmen are a key component of the men’s team. Ebin Graves and Sam Hodson, both in their first season, have been the top two performers for the Bluejays.
Three other freshmen are playing key roles this spring: Ryan Guier, who wasn’t eligible in fall, Logan Marchischuk and Matt Bauer.
Bringing some experience to the team are three players who played in last year’s KCAC tournament: sophomore Brad Shields, senior Matt Glanzer and sophomore Wayne Pekar. The latter two did not compete in this year’s fall season.
Rounding out the squad are Josh McClure, Herb Wiebe and Chris Franz.
To Glanzer’s knowledge, this is the first year Tabor has fielded a full men’s team. Eleven players are on the roster, which is enough for two teams of five and an alternate.
It’s also the first year Tabor has fielded a women’s team. Only two other KCAC schools do so.
Glanzer has four women on the team. Michele Kemling, a transfer from Colby Community College, has been the team’s top performer.
Also expected to contribute are Amanda Friesen, Audrey Friesen and Lisa Wall.
Glanzer expects his men’s team to challenge perennial power Bethany for the KCAC title. He feels with the rise of interest in golf, Bethany’s streak of seven straight titles could be broken this season.
In addition to his Bluejays, Glanzer said Kansas Wesleyan, Southwestern and Ottawa should be contenders, too. Eight KCAC schools field men’s teams.
“I really think we have a chance of going on to regionals this year and even knocking off Bethany,” Glanzer said.
If the men can finish among the top two teams in the KCAC, they can compete as a team in the NAIA regional tournament in early May. The conference’s top individual performer also qualifies to play.
Because so few teams field women’s teams, the NAIA will not have regional tournaments this spring. Instead, teams and individuals qualify for nationals according to their average score for the season.
Glanzer feels Kemling could qualify.
“Michelle would have a chance as an individual if she does really well this spring,” he said. “You have to average below an 85. I think she’s just above that right now. If she has a good spring, we might be able to get her in as an individual. That would be exciting.”
With a solid group of young players already on campus and some key recruits targeted, Glanzer said the future of the program is bright.
“I’m really excited where it’s going-with the recruiting, with the players and with all the hard work the guys have put in already this year,” he said.
“I’ve been really pleased with our hard work,” he added. “I’ve got a great group of guys who love to play the game-and they love to compete. A lot of guys like to go out and play golf. Our guys really love to play for scores and go head-to-head with other teams. That’s exciting, at least for me.”