Golf preparing for first tournaments of season

Sports Reporter

The Texas State men and women’s golf teams will have their first tournaments of the 2014 season.

The men’s golf team competes at the Golf Week Conference Challenge in Burlington, Iowa Sept. 14. The women’s golf team competes at the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sept 15. 

The Golf Week Conference Challenge takes one team from each Division I conference: Texas State’s men team is representing the Sun Belt Conference. 

Coach Shane Howell, in his eighth season of coaching the men’s golf team, describes the course as a fair and demanding. Howell views this match as a good starting point to project season performance from the team. 

“It’s definitely a starting point,” Howell said. “It’s a really good championship course. It will let us know kind of where we stack up to begin with, where we are, and how far we need to get in order to compete, not only for the Sun Belt Championship, but also for regionals and hopefully nationals.”

Texas State’s qualifying golfers for the Golfweek Conference Challenge will consist of Justin Newby, junior, Torbjorn Johansen, junior, David Faraudo Godinez, sophomore, Tyler Saunders, freshman, and Tyler Thomas, senior. 

Newby finished 29th with scores of 77, 72 and 71 in the 2013 Golf Week Conference Challenge.

“Coach has been really adamant about positive attitude and 100% effort at all times this year,” Newby said. “We are really working on that as a whole team.” 

Last week, the men’s golf team focused on chipping and putting to prepare for the tournament, where they will play against Texas and UTEP.

Texas State men’s golf will be paired with UTEP and Richmond for their 9:00 a.m. tee time. 

The Texas State women’s golf team travels to Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday to practice on the course prior to playing on it in the Minnesota Invitational on Monday.

Coach Mike Akers, ninth season as women’s head coach, said his team is fully prepared to compete well against teams including Texas, Illinois and Minnesota.

The Texas State women’s golf members making the trip to Minnesota include Lejan Lewthwaite, senior, Millie Saroha, sophomore, Ali Cowan, sophomore, Iman Nordin, Senior, and Maty Monzingo, sophomore.

“We have six very capable players,” Akers said. “Any one of them could step up and lead the team.”

Lewthwaite, South African native, understands she must have fun on the golf course while not being too hard on herself in the early rounds. 

Lewthwaite has a slight advantage from playing at the Minikahda Club course last year, where she had her second best finish of the 2013 season. Lewthwaite tied for fourth place in the 2013 Minnesota Invitational, but wishes to exceed last years’ results.

The main obstacle at the Minnesota Invitational will be the landscape, which is different than the team is used to playing on. This weeks practice on faster greens prepared the team for the Minikahda Club course in Minnesota.

“I always want to improve,” Lewthwaite said. “I have some good memories on that course, so that goes along way.”

The women’s golf team finished sixth out of 12 teams in the 2013 Minnesota Invitational.