Baker men’s golf team has hometown feel

Story by Kyle Davis

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Out of the 50 states to recruit from, the men’s golf team needed just one to fill its team: Kansas.

All 15 members of the team came to play college golf in the same state as their hometowns, which range from Great Bend to Overland Park.

“It definitely made me feel like I’ve been part of the team a little bit more … just knowing them through those weird little connections that you have being from the state of Kansas,” freshman Alex Bulk said.

Possibly more impressive is that all of these Kansas athletes have succeeded both on the golf course and in the classroom.

Last semester, 13 of the 15 players had at least a 3.0 grade point average, with no one earning less than a 2.0. Of those 13, three received a 4.0 and six others had at least a 3.5.

Senior Adam Gotsche and junior Gavin Tatrn will earn academic all-American honors in their first year of eligibility for the award.

“The very first thing, without exception, that I look at when a young man or a young woman contacts me, or I start looking at someone for recruiting purposes, is what is your ACT and what is your GPA,” head coach Karen Exon said.

Some players had the opportunity to face current teammates when they were in high school.

Bulk played against sophomore Adam Taylor in the state tournament, but the two were not grouped together, while Tatrn was grouped with freshman Kevin Hostetter in one state tournament and played with him in another one.

Tatrn and senior Tanner Christenson also both attended Seaman High School in Topeka.

“They’re all from the same state,” Exon said. “More importantly, they’re all from the same region and they all come with the same set of values.”

Another perk of being from this area is players’ ability to familiarize themselves with some of the courses before playing at Baker.

“Gotsche has played quite a few of the courses around the state of Kansas, and if we’re playing a practice round, he’s always there to tell us a little subtle hint about stuff that we need to know about the golf course,” Tatrn said.

Bulk believes this team is close, even if this coincidence is not the cause.<br/>"We're all great friends," he said, "And whether that's because we are all from Kansas and we hold connections like that, I have no idea, but … this is one of the strongest chemistries I've ever had on a team.""We're all great friends," he said, "And whether that's because we are all from Kansas and we hold connections like that, I have no idea, but … this is one of the strongest chemistries I've ever had on a team."
“We’re all great friends,” he said, “And whether that’s because we are all from Kansas and we hold connections like that, I have no idea, but … this is one of the strongest chemistries I’ve ever had on a team.”