OREM, Utah - Confidence - expectations - mindset, were three words that head golf coach Tommy Johnson continued to use when talking about his team's fall season.
-Really good players have confidence and believe they are good, and they hold higher expectations for themselves,- said Johnson. -My job is to change the mindset of players that don't have the confidence and expectations, and I think we are headed in the right direction.-
-Changing the mindset- took place often during the fall. In UVSC's second tournament, the Ron Moore Invitational, the Wolverines were in 15th place out of 16 teams. Confidence was low and expectations were nonexistent until the mindset changed. Utah Valley, sparked by a couple great individual rounds, propelled them from 15th to 7th place.
All five Wolverine golfers improved their scores, and four of the five improved in the individual standings over the stretch of the tournament. Nic van Vuuren improved the most in scoring and Milo Lines gained the most ground in the individual standings.
After shooting even rounds of 72 in his first two rounds, van Vuuren saved the best for last with a career best 65 over the final 18. He was tied for 13th overall after the first round, and improved by seven shots over the final round, earning a 3rd place finish. His 65 ended up being the low round of the day and the low round of the tournament.
-If I were to give out a MVP award right now it would go to Nic [van Vuuren] hands down,- said Johnson. -He is the ideal player. He is a veracious learner, he is always looking to get better, he never complains. He is the type of kid that every golf coach in America would love to have.-
Lines was tied for 76th overall, after shooting a 7-over 79 in his first round. Over the next two rounds, Lines gained five shots, and moved up 58 spots in the individual standings. He shot 1-over 73 in his second round, and notched a 6-under 66 in his final round, to finish 18th overall at 2-over.
-Nobody wants it more than Milo,- said Johnson. -He knows what it feels like to play at a high level. He has loads of talent.-
As a team, UVSC improved seven shots from its first to second rounds, and 19 shots from its second to third rounds.
-At one point we were two shots out of last place,- said Johnson. -To jump eight places in the team standings is a great feat. I was very proud of our guys.-
The Wolverines took the momentum they gained in the Ron Moore Invitational into their next tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, competing in the Bill Ross Intercollegiate. Van Vuuren helped the Wolverines secure a second place finish, as he finished second in the individual standings at 2-over (218). UVSC forced a two-hole playoff with Oklahoma Christian University by making up five strokes in the final round. The two schools tied the first hole, but OCU won the second hole with three pars and birdie, to UVSC's four pars.
Tadd Cox finished 6th overall at 5-over (221), and Cody Powers rounded out the Wolverine golfers finishing in the top 10 with a 6-over (222) 10th place finish.
-Day in and day out, Tadd is the most feared player on the team,- said Johnson. -He hasn't shown his true colors, but he has so much potential.-
In the final fall tournament, the Wolverines played in the Bronco Roundup hosted by Boise State. As a team, UVSC finished in 7th place overall with a great individual effort by Powers. During the second round on the first day, Powers shot a career tournament best - 6-under, 64. He finished in second place at 8-under (205), just one-shot behind the leader from Washington State.
-Cody [Powers] has really raised the bar,- said Johnson. -He's gone from battling for the last travel spot to being a guy that carry the team on his shoulders.-
Overall Johnson said he was very happy with the progress his team made this fall. He continued to stress the importance of becoming better by "changing their mindset."
"These guys are starting to open their eyes to bigger and better things," said Johnson. "Mindset is the most important thing in this game."
The Wolverine golfers will have a full schedule in the spring. For all the fall tournament stories and stats, and a look at a future spring schedule go to: www.wolverinesports.net .