Governors State's Men and Women's Golf Season-in-Review
Governors State University's Men's Golf Team experienced a transition season in 2019-20 as rookies comprised 80 percent of the team. In addition, a new coaching staff was put in place with former assistant Scott Hogan promoted to head coach just a month prior to the season opener. Fred Hawkins, a veteran youth golf and basketball coach, was hired as assistant coach.
With so many new working parts, coach Hogan stressed the importance of everyone being on the same page.
"It was a good season in that we started implementing everything we wanted to put in place for this program. It's going to take time, but we have a routine consistent with high-level programs which is really important," Hogan explained. "We're looking for more than just golfers, we're looking for people who fit into what we're trying to do."
The Jaguars played six tournaments in the fall, opening with a fourth-placing showing at the Olivet Nazarene Fall Invitational, held in September in St. Anne, Illinois. In addition to veteran Casey Domke, Hogan's lineup featured four newcomers making their GSU debuts: Keegan Adamson, Patrick Guilfoyle, Carter LeRoy and Kevin Kompier. While new to GSU, Guilfoyle (Illinois Valley CC) and LeRoy (Illinois Central CC) had collegiate golf experience under their belts as junior college transfers.
After playing through 100-degree heat at the NAIA Memphis Shootout, GSU finished fifth out of 15 teams at the IVCC Invitational, a tournament which gave Hogan the chance to scout junior college prospects. GSU opened the tournament with a blistering round of 299, the team's lowest total in 29 rounds dating to April 2018.
The Orange and Black placed seventh at the third annual CCAC Cup, a fall preview event which featured nine conference teams. Domke shot a season-low 2-over-par 72 on the final day to earn a ninth-place finish. Guilfoyle opened the tourney with a 73, his best effort of the season.
GSU earned its first podium finish with a second-place effort at the Mike Lalaeff Memorial Invitational in Crown Point, finishing five strokes behind NCAA Division II Purdue Northwest.
It was the fall finale, however, where the Jaguars experienced their finest hour. Competing against a field of 20 teams, GSU finished fourth at the Whistling Straits Intercollegiate, played on the eponymous championship course located off the shores of Lake Michigan. GSU finished behind two of the top three ranked teams in the NAIA (No. 2 Keiser and No. 3 Texas Wesleyan) along with NCAA Division II Ferris State. The performance may have been one of the best in team history.
"That event was the highlight of our season," stated Hogan. "To play that well against that level of competition and a tough course was huge for us."
Individually, the Jaguars were led by Domke, who increased his career records for tournament appearances (49) and rounds played (88). The senior posted a 78.6 stroke average over 13 rounds, marking the second-straight year he led the team in that category. Adamson produced the team's second-lowest average (79.0), setting a freshman school record in the process.
GSU's season came to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, five spring tournaments were cancelled, including the CCAC Championships. GSU golfers were granted an extra year of eligibility by the NAIA, giving Coach Hogan a solid foundation going into next season.
"Having Casey coming back is a bonus for us," said Hogan. "We're excited about the team we have in place moving forward."
WOMEN’S GOLF: SEASON-IN-REVIEW
A new era began for the Governors State Women's Golf Team in 2019-20 behind a first-year coach and a roster filled with first-year golfers.
First-year Macie Jansen and junior college transfer Savanah Julian carried the load during the fall season, with the pair representing GSU in five tournaments. The program also hired a new head coach in Scott Hogan, who had served as GSU's assistant coach the previous three seasons.
Jansen finished with a 125.9 scoring average over eight rounds; her best round (121) occurred at the Judson Fall Invitational. She was the team's low scorer at every tournament, her season highlighted by a 21st-place showing at the Troll Classic. Jansen will enter her sophomore season with the program's sixth-best career scoring average.
Julian recorded a 34-shot improvement from her opening round on September 6 to her closing round five weeks later. She also carded the Jaguars' lowest 18-hole total of the season with a 115 score on the first day of the Mike Lalaeff Memorial Invitational. The 2019-20 campaign marked the first time Julian played golf competitively, a sport learned from her father. She previously played softball at Moraine Valley Community College.
"We spent a great deal of time putting structure in place to help our golfers and it was great to see Macie's and Savanah's improvement in the fall," said Hogan. "Their work ethic and enthusiasm paid off."
GSU also benefited from the hiring of assistant coach Fred Hawkins, a veteran coach of youth golf and basketball. "Fred was a dependable coach to have on the course, he had a calming influence and offered wisdom to our golfers. His mental approach was outstanding," stated Hogan.
GSU's roster also featured two golfers not available in the fall who were slated to play in the spring before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of spring matches, including the CCAC Championships. Senior Autumn Price, who played in a pair of tournaments in 2019-20, and two-sport student-athlete Alex Dahm, a setter for the volleyball team, figured prominently in the team's scoring plans. Instead, they will have to wait until next fall when the entire team is granted an extra year of eligibility due to a ruling passed by the NAIA.
"I was really pleased with our effort in practice and in tournament play. We put things in place that will help us next year as our roster continues to grow," said Hogan.