Men’s golf team endures transfer, injury

After placing second in the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament last spring, the men’s golf team had a challenging summer, losing four top players.

All-conference team member Michael Kahler graduated last spring and was the only one expected not to return this fall.

Head coach Karen Exon said she received a phone call from sophomore Chris Wilson this summer, informing her he would not be returning this fall. Wilson had an exceptional freshman season at Baker University and joined Kahler on the all-conference team.

“I played well this summer and got the attention of some other coaches, and the (University of Oklahoma) coach asked me to come over right now,” Wilson said in a phone interview from Norman, Okla. “I miss Baker, but from a golf standpoint, this would be better.”

After battling a shoulder injury last season, senior Chase Day opted for surgery this summer. Exon said he might return for the spring season.

The most unexpected phone call came from junior Jared Drummond, informing Exon he broke his neck during a dirt bike accident.

“For a while it appeared he wouldn’t come back this fall to Baker,” Exon said. “I’m happy to report he is back and is a part of the team but won’t be playing this season.”

Exon said she expected Day and Drummond to compete for the top spots on the team, but believes her returning players and incoming freshmen can live up to the challenge.

The men open their fall season on Monday at Graceland University with a one-day 18-hole tournament.

The women also had a solid showing last spring and placed second in the HAAC tournament.

After only losing one to graduation and one to the study abroad program, Exon said she is more optimistic about the women’s team.

The women open Sept. 17 at the Briar Cliff University Invitational in Sioux City, Iowa, where the team will see many conference teams.

“We’re going to see some good quality competition from the north conference teams,” Exon said.

The women return two seniors, Melissa Brown and Alicia Kortz. With only a six-man roster, Exon said she expects the two newcomers to step up quickly and help the team have even better performances than last season.

“I’m confident in the abilities of the ladies we have coming back, and I think we should be a strong team and tough competition for everyone we go up against,” Brown said. “I have high expectations for the team as a whole, and from the way I hear it, one or both of the freshmen could step up and really add to the team.”