Golf teams ready for spring competition

Story by Chad Mullen, Writer

With the addition of William Penn University and Grand View University to the Heart conference, Baker’s golf teams have stronger competition heading into the spring 2016 schedule.

“We’re pretty much neck-and-neck with Grand View, and they are new to our conference.” senior Lindsay Mateer said. “And William Penn is ranked right now, so they have a pretty solid team. They’ll definitely be a big obstacle for us to get to nationals.”

On the men’s side, Grand View is ranked No. 9 nationally, while the William Penn women are ranked No. 18 in the NAIA.

The BU women will look to claim four straight conference titles dating back to a 2013 tie for first place with Peru State College, while the Baker men will look to improve upon 2015’s fifth-place finish. Mateer, last year’s Heart of America Athletic Conference individual champion, is also looking to improve, taking every opportunity she can to work on her game.

“I’ll putt in the living room. I stretch during class,” Mateer said. “It’s actually getting pretty obsessive, but I want this last season to be really good. At the same time I don’t want to put too much pressure on it and have fun.”

One element that will aid in her goal of having fun will be the chemistry, not only among the women’s team, but the men and women.

“I love this team. We’re all pretty close and we’re very positive,” Mateer said. “We don’t get sick of each other that much.”

The offseason is a way to keep from getting too accustomed to each other, as most preparation is individual. Still, the teams have found ways to bond.

“We have our winter workouts, which are more individual, then we have the cages in Mabee gym, which we aren’t able to use as often.” Mateer said. “But team-wise we’ll have team dinners every once in a while, and now we see each other all the time at practice.”

Now that practice has started, Mateer has been able to see the games of the three freshmen on the team in Anna Eichten, Samantha Mitchell and Emily Pennington. On the men’s side, there is only one newcomer in Kyle Barbee. Mateer is excited by the number of recruits coach Karen Exon is able to pull in consistently.

“Coach does a great job recruiting,” Mateer said. “We have 11 players right now, which is really good for the program.”

As far as goals for the season, Exon stresses ones that are universal for every player.

“We all set little individual goals, like eliminating three-putts, or hitting greens in regulation, or consistently hitting the fairways,” Mateer said. “And obviously, at the end of each round we want to have as low a score as possible.”

The long-term goal is obvious for Mateer.

“For sure, the ultimate goal is to make it to nationals,” Mateer said. “I’m hoping there are enough bids for us to get in, but I’m not sure, and we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”