Ashland University head men's golf coach Dennis North isn't just wanting a better showing by his Eagles at Findlay's Doc Spragg Fall Invitational on Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 23-24) – he's pretty much demanding it.
At the season-opening 54-hole Don Underwood Invitational on Sept. 9-10 in Allendale, Mich., Ashland ended in 10th place in the 12-team field with a team score of 906 – 42 shots behind team champion Findlay (864).
"The major takeaway is we have to get better, and we have to get better quick," North said. "We didn't play very well, but I have a lot of confidence in them that they will bounce back and play really well this weekend at Findlay.
"I was a little disappointed with the way we started the season. I was hoping we would be a little more prepared for that. Those aren't the standards that we expect."
Junior Ben Jones began his 2019-20 campaign strong, carding 72-72-74—218 to finish in a tie for ninth place individually. That also moved Jones' career scoring average as an Eagle down to 74.57, which is tied with Jay Overy for second-best in the program since 1996-97, and a small fraction behind Austin Kondratick (74.55) for the lowest career average since then.
Freshman Andrew Kolar's first three rounds as a collegian progressively got better (78-74-71—223), and following were senior Patrick Steffen (79-73-80—232), sophomore Luke Tanner (78-75-80—233) and freshman Caden Gallagher (79-78-87—244).
Jones, Kolar, Steffen and Tanner will be in the lineup at Findlay, with the fifth player to be determined by qualifying.
"We'll have probably two people who haven't played there before, and three that are very familiar with it," North said. "Very similar to Ashland Golf Club as far as traditional country club, tight fairways. We've stressed driving the ball since we've returned from Grand Valley, so I think we'll be prepared. They put in a great week of work.
"This is a full field with the best teams. This event is one that all want to go to, so we will definitely see how we stack up against those in our region."