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Wichita State golf to open season

Reece Burns

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Wichita State’s golf teams are on the road to the unknown this weekend to open up their seasons.

The women’s team will head north to Iowa State’s home course to compete in the Diane Thomason Invitational, while the men’s team will fly east to participate in the Marshall Tournament.

Both tournaments are new to the teams, and will pose individual challenges of their own.

Women’s

The Finkbine Golf Course is described by head women’s coach Tom McCurdy as having tight fairways, an excess of tree lines and severely sloped greens.

The most unusual part of the course, however, is the course’s signature island green which features a separate left and right green, both surrounded by bodies of water. Competitors will play one green Saturday and the other green Sunday.

“I’ve never seen that before at a tournament,” McCurdy said. “We’ve been playing golf courses that mirror that course’s hills, trees and green size to prepare.”

McCurdy is taking his top five players to compete this weekend. He expects to see good things from senior Bryce Schroeder.

“[Schroeder] really had a good experience this summer,” McCurdy said. “She really recommitted herself to having a good senior year and is playing really well.”

Also on the radar is newcomer Gavrilla Arya, the only freshman on the team, whom the team has dubbed “Gavi.”

“[Gavi] is a fundamentally sound player,” McCurdy said. “She has lots of short game and played a lot of tournaments this summer to sharpen her game. I don’t expect the standard learning curve that usually comes with freshmen.”

The shotgun-start tournament first round tees off Saturday while the second round will conclude the tournament Sunday.

Men’s

Out east, the men’s team is scheduled in West Virginia on Saturday for the Marshall Tournament. Like the Finkbine course for the women’s team, the course at Guyan Golf & Country Club is new for the men’s team.

The team is anticipating anything.

“Expecting is a good question,” assistant men’s coach Tony Blake said. “It’s been awhile since the guys have played a tournament. You never know quite where you stand.”

Blake described the course as having hills, mountains and tight, difficult greens.

The men’s team is young-blooded, the top five travelers consisting of three sophomores and two juniors.

Normally, the men’s team would be traveling to Michigan this weekend to open their season but due to course remodeling in Michigan, the Shockers opted to take a swing at this tournament.

Like the course, the teams in attendance will also be new to the Shockers.

“We’ve played quite a bit of different courses and have qualified on three individual courses,” Blake said. “They had to adapt quickly … so that will help in this tournament.”

The men’s first tee-off is scheduled for Sunday morning.

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