The Sonoma State University men’s golf team packed their clubs and took off to Las Cruces, New Mexico last Monday and Tuesday for the WNMU intercollegiate golf tournament.
The University Golf Club in Las Cruces served as the men’s NCAA regional preview, where 24 golf teams from across the country showcased their skills on the course.
Four of the 24 teams were from the CCAA conference, including the Seawolves.
Seniors Brandon Lee, Nicholas Daniels and Kenny Maroney represented the Seawolves at the tournament, along with Junior Justin Shulker and Sophomore Tyler Manna to complete the five-man squad.
On day one of the tournament, the Seawolves shot a total of 287. Senior Brandon Lee knew the Seawolves had to start fast and play consistent to finish on top of the leaderboard at this tournament.
“The tournament was 36 holes, so we knew we had to start well right out of the gate,” said Lee. “We kicked it into gear quickly and started making some birdies.”
The 287 score put Sonoma State in a tie for third place overall going into the final 18 holes of the tournament.
The Seawolves put together a great round on day two, putting themselves into a three-way tie for first place going into the final hole of the 36-hole tournament. Lee said that keeping calm and staying focused in the final hole was crucial for the Seawolves.
“We had to play one shot at a time and not get ahead of ourselves,” said Lee. “We needed to stay in the moment.”
The Seawolves fell short of victory but finished with an impressive fourth place overall, only three strokes behind the winning squad from Cal State Monterey Bay. Three of the top four teams all came from the CCAA conference.
The Seawolves made a massive improvement from their 15th place finish in the first tournament of the season.
“I think we were all able to handle our emotions really well and execute some good shots; I think we’re all moving forward in the right direction,” said Lee. “We definitely performed better, but that being said, there is still a lot of room for improvement.”
Senior Kenny Maroney opened up the tournament firing a 70, one under par after 18 holes, then went on to shoot a 74 onday two for a score of 144.
Maroney finished in a tie at 17th place overall with fellow teammate Taylor Manna, who dropped in five birdies over the course of the tournament.
Lee put together rounds of 74 and 71 to place25th overall. Nicholas Daniels was consistent, knocking in 25 pars throughout the tournament as he finished in 65th place.
Junior Brandon Shulker led the Seawolves, shooting a 70 in the first day of the tournament, followed with a 72 on the final day to finish with an impressive 10th place overall out of the 120 total competitors.
“It felt great to see glimpses of my hard work pay off,” said Shulker. “ I just stuck to the game plan that the team and I had going into the tournament.”
Shulker putted in team-high seven birdies, along with 24 pars for the tournament.
“I credit a lot of this tournament to my coaches and teammates, the confidence they put in me helped me attack and play well,” said Shulker.
Next up for the Seawolf men’s golf team is their host tournament at Foxtail Golf Course in Rohnert Park. Lee and the Seawolves look to defend their home course with confidence.
“We should run away with our home event, it always feels great to play there,” said Lee.
The Sonoma State Invitational will take place on Oct. 12.