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Eagle’s Golf Rises to the Challenge as Back-to-Back National Finalists

After finishing back to back seasons as NCAA Division II national finalists, Eagle’s men’s golf is back at it again with stellar performances. Head coach David Lynn spoke on the previous season’s results and the game plan to keep improving.

“Our first plan was to retain a lot of our top athletes. We’ve done that, got a couple guys returning. Oskari Nuku and the reigning Lone Star Conference player of the year Exzequiel Rodriguez,” Coach Lynn said. “They’re leading the team this year. We have a pretty awesome schedule over the course of the year that helps prepare the guys too. They played a lot of different teams under a lot of different conditions and at a lot of different golf courses, so by the time we get to the postseason they are seasoned and ready for all scenarios”

Coach Lynn described some of the goals of the team this year.

“Our goals are the same each year: they are to win tournaments,” Coach Lynn said. “That puts ourselves in position to win the conference championship, go to the NCAA regional and try to make the top 820 teams that get to the NCAA finals.

“Our goal at the end of every year is to make the match play,” Coach Lynn said. “Kind of anything can happen after that, and we’ve seen that. We almost got eliminated last year at regionals. One more shot over 800 and we would not have gone to nationals.”

“The only thing you can really do is have the guys prepared by having experience, so we’ve been very fortunate to have just that, get a lot of good experience over the last couple of years,” Coach Lynn said. “I think that will be a huge asset to us, and in the next month or two as we step up and try to do some of the same things again.”

Defending Lone Star conference player of the year junior Exzequiel Rodriguez showed excitement for the season.

“We lost last year in the national final for the second time in a row,” Rodriguez said. “So this year we have the same goal in mind as a team, making it through regionals. We have a good chance as a team, hopefully things will go right for us.”

Rodriguez went on to speak on what the recent success at tournaments meant for the team as a whole. 

“All of us want the best for the team. Of course, it’s never easy to get things done when even more pressure is on. But I think our team is really good at that,” Rodriguez said. “In both prior regional tournaments, we were really close to not qualifying, but we ended up making it by a shot. I feel like under pressure, the team plays really well.”

“We put in all the work throughout the year to get here. So now that we got it, we feel relaxed,” Rodriguez said. “We try to play our best every tournament and that’s the main reason why we love the team because we just love winning.”

Graduate student Said Powers explained how the team felt about heading into the playoffs.

“Coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes at nationals leaves a sense of unfinished business,” Powers said. “We have an extremely solid group of core guys who are eager for the challenge that lies ahead. We’re taking each tournament, round and shot as it comes.”

“I’m looking forward to competing for the national championship,” Powers said. “It’s a bittersweet time for me as this is my last go around. I’ve been fortunate enough to build lifelong relationships with some pretty awesome guys over these past five years. Enjoying these final moments with them is definitely something that’s on the top of my list.”

The Eagle’s next tournament will be from April 8-9 at the University of West Florida. It will be the last tournament before they play for the Lone Star Conference.

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