Staying calm and composed is how the Western men’s golf team is preparing to enter the first round of the national championships.
The Vikings advanced to the national tournament after tying for third in their last match of the regional championship with California State University East Bay.
Senior Chris Hatch described the scene as being very emotional when they found out they’d advanced.
“We were pretty nervous, but we capitalized on it and handled our nerves pretty well,” Hatch said. “It was probably the best feeling in my college career so far.”
Out of the 20 teams playing, the Vikings will have to place within the top eight in order to advance to the quarter finals. If they make it through both the quarter and semifinals, they’ll play in the finals on Friday, May 26. Hatch is confident the team has a shot at winning the entire tournament.
“We’re on the high right now, we’re really excited,” Hatch said. “We’re solid and we have a really good team. We’re going to go in there with a winning mindset.”
As a senior, this will be Hatch’s last time playing with the team. Having fun throughout the season helped the team in securing a spot, Hatch said.
“It’s my last season and I just wanted to enjoy it,” Hatch said. “Obviously, I wanted to play well, and we’re just having a lot of fun and it’s rubbing off on our games.”
Hatch said this is a big achievement in his athletic career, and he is glad to share it with the team.
“Having four great guys to travel with, and 11 guys at home, makes it a better experience being able to share it with others,” Hatch said.
It’s important to keep a level head, senior Jeffrey Marcum said. For Marcum, the championship isn’t much different than any other match.
“It’s a lot of preparation throughout the year. Everything we’ve been doing is to prepare for [nationals],” Marcum said. “Every tournament was a practice round, in a sense.”
Marcum is looking forward to playing in the national tournament. He said he is hoping to try and reach his goal of becoming an All-American player. This means he could be recognized within a select group of players for their exceptional skill within the sport.
“Every tournament was a practice round, in a sense.”
Jeffrey Marcum, senior
Marcum said if he plays well at nationals that opportunity could present itself. However, he said the team perspective is most important.
“Golf is such an individual sport,” Marcum said. “College golf isn’t really like anything else out there in golf. It’s neat to think this will be my last run with the team.”
Marcum said the team has a mentality where they feel they have nothing to lose going into the tournament.
“It’s kind of a toss-up, a lot of years the number one team going in doesn’t win,” Marcum said.
Hatch also said he is confident in the team’s chances to win the national title.
“Anything can happen, and it definitely makes it exciting,” Hatch said. “From that perspective, we think we can run and play with anyone.”
The national tournament will start on Monday, May 22, in Kissimmee, Florida at the Reunion Resort.