Written by Student Assistant McKenna Morin
TACOMA, Wash. - The Pacific Lutheran University men's golf team has a leg up on the competition as it hosts the 2017 Northwest Conference Championships on Saturday and Sunday at the Tacoma Country and Golf Club in Lakewood.
The Lutes head into the event as the prohibitive favorite after winning both the NWC Fall Classic and the NWC Spring Classic back on April 9. The NWC Fall and Spring Classics both count 25 percent towards naming the NWC regular season champion and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships with the remaining 50 percent coming from this weekend's NWC Tournament.
Dedication, mental toughness, and integrity are just a few of the qualities required to be a golfer. Those qualities can be found in senior Kyle Drugge as he prepares to tee up for what could be his final tournament of his career this weekend. After many years on PLU's golf team, Drugge not only kept his current game in mind but also his last.
"In all honesty, in the back of my mind, I know that with every tournament I play, the closer I come to the last time I get to tee it up as a Lute," Drugge said. "It's tough not to think about it though, and part of me uses it as motivation to leave it all out there at every event."
While Drugge tried to prepare himself for his last season, he also helped focus the team on the importance of every round. This type of motivation and support is what helped PLU achieve success this season, winning four of seven tournaments the Lutes have competed in.
This weekend the Lutes are looking to capitalize on their home course advantage to extend the season and qualify for the NCAA Championships.
"We are very excited to host the Conference Championship," Drugge said. "Anytime we get to host an event it gives us an advantage because we know the course well and we don't have to travel to the event."
Being able to know what is ahead and know how to prepare give the team a lot of reassurance.
"We have worked hard on making sure we are as prepared as possible for every tournament because we know that leads to confidence. We try to develop a solid game plan for each hole of each course, and from there we just try to go out and trust our stuff and play golf," Drugge said.
Having focus and a well-executed game plan are some of the golfer's keys' to success. These successes are also what has helped bring the team together this season into a tight knit group.
"I'm sure I might get emotional when the season is completely over because I love my team and I love competing with them more than anything, so it will be sad for that to come to an end," Drugge said. "I just hope that I have had even the slightest impact on the rest of the guys, compared to the impact they have had on me, and that's what it's all about."
Action on Saturday begins at 8 a.m. with the final round beginning on Sunday at 8 a.m.