Written by Student Assistant Sarah Cornell-Maier
TACOMA, Wash. - After a long break from competition, the 19th-ranked Pacific Lutheran University men's golf team is returning to the course for the first competition of the spring season. The Lutes make the short trip to Bremerton, Washington for the Puget Sound Invitational at the Gold Mountain Golf Course.
Coming out of the Fall Classic the Lutes sit in first place in the Northwest Conference, with junior Mitchell Baldridge emerging as a strong conference competitor. Baldridge tied for fourth place at the Fall Classic, shooting a one-under 143 as the Lutes owned a 16-stroke lead on the rest of the field in the team standings.
According to Baldridge, the team's feelings about this weekend are pretty universal.
"Everyone is positive and ready to perform. The chemistry on our team is the best it's ever been and we are going to use that to our advantage and take on the other teams."
The Lutes have had a lot of success in the past couple of seasons, winning the program's 23rd NWC title in 2014 while collecting a runner-up finish at the 2016 NWC Championships. During the fall season, the Lutes won two tournaments and placed runner-up in two more, surging into the national rankings and rising six spots since their October debut.
This success has brought with it a high level of competition on the team. "As golfers, we are always competing. Whether it's with a friend practicing in the off-season or simply against your own best scores, we love competition and the opportunity to show off all of our hard work," said Baldridge.
This team mindset is something that the Lutes have always emphasized. Last fall Head Coach Kris Swanson said, "We have put great practice habits and pre-round processes in place to help us succeed and be prepared to play our best. The men have stuck to the process and their attitudes are great. They want to play well."
This attitude will certainly help the team this weekend against strong NWC competitors. The Lutes open the spring on Saturday at 10 a.m. with the opening round of the UPS Invite before closing the tournament on Sunday.