Golf competes at First Federal Invitational

The Southern golf team headed home from the First Federal Invitational hosted by Henderson State University at Branson Creek Country Club with a fifth place finish.  

As the normal familiar faces for Southern had some trouble, others on the team stepped up to keep the Lions in contention throughout the tournament.

Following the weekend of golf Southern saw junior Ryan Russell (147) lead the Lions with a first round 75 that he bettered by three strokes to shoot a 72 on the final day, and eventually finish seventh overall.  

“I focused on playing my own game and relied on some good coaching from Mike Wheeler,” said Russel.

“As a team we really went out there with a mind set of having a good time, and that’s what we did.”

A refreshing sight to a team looking to improve as a whole, the Southern golf team feels like their best is still ahead.

“I’m happy for Russ and how he played.  It was a good tournament as a whole,” said junior Andrew Maier.

“But once we all play to our full potential we are a force to be reckoned with.”

A player that performs consistently, Maier (152) also helped lead the Lions with a first round 78 followed by a 74 on the final day of competition.

Still, the performance was not played without issue.  Like any golfer the Southern team knows what the keys to low numbers are, and they look to refine their game in the areas that matter most.

“As we start playing better greens towards conference and regionals it is all about the short game,” said Maier.

But as the team looks toward the future, it seems bright.  

With freshman Ben Starkey and sophomore Adam Johnson gaining invaluable experience in real time action during this season, and the inevitable return of soon-to-be-seniors Maier and Ryan Buerk, there is much room for optimism.  

“We have a great opportunity ahead of us,” said Maier.

“But the future is now, considering we have a home conference event next week and that could be a big deciding factor going forward.”

Like a true competitor, Maier and the rest of the Lions look to put a stamp on the season with a victory in the backyard of Missouri Southern.  

This is a test they will not have to wait long for as they get back to action this upcoming week playing host to an MIAA points event on Monday and Tuesday at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club.