| March 17, 2018

M. Golf: New Talent, Same Confidence

September 12, 2016

College athletic teams typically start the season with newcomers and returning athletes. This isn’t the case for the Idaho men’s golf team.

In the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate Monday and Tuesday at Washington State,  the only returning golfers are senior Ryan Porch and sophomore Enrique Marin.

“It is going to be different,” Idaho head coach David Nuhn said. “You’re going to have to let the guys get familiar with playing at this level.”

While Porch agreed with Nuhn, he said he still has a lot of confidence in the young team.

“I think the skill is there, it’s just a matter of letting all the pieces fall into place,” Porch said.

Idaho finished in 11th place Monday. Freshman Thomas Ethan Atherstone is one under par and finished fifth Monday. Porch is tied for sixth with two rounds of 72. Competitors include Gonzaga, Sacramento State and San Jose State.

“I would just say familiarity with the golf course is going to serve us well this first couple weeks,” Nuhn said. “We’ve done everything we can to be at the facility as much as possible.”

While the familiarity will serve as an advantage for the Vandals, Porch said Mother Nature can play a role in performance regardless of familiarity.

“It gets really windy out there, so it’s not really a golf course where you’re going to be hitting it onto the fairway and then on the green and two-putting it,” Porch said. “It’s a lot of short game.”

Because of the possible windy conditions, Porch said the team has been putting a lot of focus in practice on short game and possible shots they might face in the field, and the veterans try to advise the newcomers as much as possible.

“We’ve played in this event before, we know how the course is, so we’re able to help the younger guys and just focus on certain things,” Porch said.

“We’ve played in this event before, we know how the course is, so we’re able to help the younger guys and just focus on certain things,” Porch said.

Nuhn said the team has been working out the kinks leading up to Monday’s opening day.

With the season underway, the Vandals have set more goals than just defending their Big Sky Conference Champions title.

Nuhn said the team is maintaining their focus in the classroom.

“We have a lot of great students on our team,” Nuhn said. “They’re going to be really good business men or women, or whatever they may be as Vandals down the road. I want them all to become good leaders down the road in life, and that’s a goal of mine from the coaching side.”

Porch agreed with the importance of the team’s work in the classroom.

“In the past, we’ve had the majority of our team make the honor roll and have high GPAs, and that’s cool because we’re not just golfers, we’re also students and we can balance,” Porch said. “Being on the golf team, yeah it’s not as time consuming and demanding as maybe football, but we still have workouts three days a week, we still have practice every day, we still have to study and everything.”

Porch said the team will continue their efforts to maintain the tradition of being honor roll students.

Coming off such a successful season both on and off the course, Nuhn said the biggest thing to continue from last season is confidence.

“We had a strong year, and we know we’re capable of doing really good things out there,” Nuhn said. “If it takes a couple of events to get settled in then that’s the case.”

Porch said he hopes to see more consistency throughout the season.

“I think consistency is a big thing to where if you go into a tournament and you can rely on all five guys that they’re going to play well when things aren’t going well. And I think we have that,” Porch said. “There are moments of brilliance here and there are things you need to learn, which I think just goes through experience.”

On the road to gaining experience, Nuhn said the team will just be taking everything one step at a time.

“I think right now what we’re trying to do is figure out the best way to approach taking it one day at a time, and eventually we’re going to be at the conference championship and be able to contend, to compete and to win,” Nuhn said. “And that’s the focus right now is just being prepared and focused on what we have to do today to prepare for tomorrow.”

Mihaela Karstcan be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @mihaela_jo

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