Anxious team opens season

Head coach Karen Exon said the men’s first golf tournament of the year was one the men “were chomping at the bit” to play in.

The result of that anticipation was the team ending up in fourth place out of six teams in the two-day tournament hosted by Lindenwood University.

Two five-member teams had “tough competition” Exon said. However, among that tough competition, several Baker players had an apparent good start to the new season.

Sophomore P.J. Matulka placed third in the entire tournament, while freshman Zack Rockey shot 77-80 in his first college tournament. Though he wasn’t sure how he would play against other college competitors, he thought a familiar weather element may have helped his mind set.

“I didn’t know what to expect and just went out and did the best I could,” Rockey said. “The wind was a real big part of it. I grew up in south central Kansas. It is windy every day, so it wasn’t as tough for me.”

For junior Michael Kahler, the tournament began with an unexpected rough start with a score of 81, but he recovered the next day with a 71.

“I would say the first day was a little deflating for me, but the second day I played like I was hoping I would,” Kahler said.

The team has six freshmen that are consistently playing in qualifiers for each tournament. The next tournament will be at William Woods University in Fulton, Mo., where both men’s and women’s teams will be competing.

Based on the performances she saw at the Lindenwood tournament, Exon anticipates success for the rest of the year.

“We had a good time, played hard, it was a good experience,” Exon said. “We had a great freshman debut, and I was just as excited as they were to actually play tournament golf.”