Golf looking to improve

Maurice Hudson, Sports Reporter

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With the season coming just around the corner, Winona State University’s men and women’s golf teams have continued to make strides to be fully prepared for the season ahead of them.

Despite a fantastic finish in the regional championship last season, the men are still not satisfied. This season they are eyeing redemption.

Men’s golf head coach Jeff Straight talked about how the success from last season will be fuel and motivation for the upcoming season.

“We haven’t been that good for a while and we have been a good team for the last four years,” Straight said. “We have been on the doorstep to win conference, we won conference last year and we were ten shots from going to national, so we are on the door.”

In addition, golfers have been doing a lot more preparation for the upcoming season.

Straight stressed that being in a positive, supportive environment led to the team’s successful road to the regional tournament last year.

One golfer to watch will be Brady Madsen, who during the offseason won the 2019 Minnesota State Open this summer and was named the NSIC Preseason Golfer of the Year.

Straight touched on Madsen and his work ethic.

“Can he play the tour? Yeah, I think he can,” Straight said. “He’s undersized but he hits the ball a very long way. He hits it farther than most tour players. Brady is so dedicated, he would hit balls eight hours a day. He would do what I teach my other guys and its do things others won’t.”

The men’s golf team open their season at the Watkins Invitational in Lake City, Minnesota, Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7.

The Winona State women’s golf team has been adjusting and adapting to their new circumstances.

Despite having seven returning underclassmen, the team added three new incoming players and will now be coached by Tiffanie Yabut in her first year.

Yabut is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, and attended Missouri Western State University, where she graduated with Cum Laude honors while playing on the women’s golf team.

In addition to her duties as a golf student-athlete, Yabut was a board member on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Of the returning golfers, sophomore Savanna Anderson led the team at the championship event in 2019, with a three-round total of 262 to place 28th individually. She averaged a 91.9 last year and carded a season-low round of 77.

The women’s golf team was picked 10th in NSIC Women’s Golf Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Another golfer to watch is first-year Jessica Smith, one of three incoming players, ranked 16th in the state of Minnesota throughout all classes. She won the overall points total for the Minnesota Junior PGA Series C and was one of eight finalists for the Ms. Golf Minnesota honor giver to the state’s top high school senior.

The women’s golf team open their season at the Bemidji State Invitational in Bemidji, Minnesota, Monday, Sept. 9.