Golf team takes second at Big Blue Classic

Webster University golf
Webster University junior Kyler Scott putts during a practice round at the Sunset Country Club. Scott tied for 11th in individual play at the Big Blue Fall Classic, and the Gorloks finished second as a team. PHOTO BY VICTORIA CASWELL

The Webster University golf team finished in second place at the Big Blue Fall Classic on Oct. 2 and 3 in Decatur, Ill., after shooting two over par for the tournament, a Webster record. The Gorloks shot a 592, but fell eight shots short as tournament host Millikin University finished in first. The Big Blue Classic was Webster’s final tournament of the fall season.
Webster’s second-round score of 290 tied for the second-lowest score for a round in team history. Webster set the team record last season by shooting a 287 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament, but finished seven over par in that tournament.
Coach Andrew Belsky credits the team’s success to them finally playing well all at once.
“If you look throughout the entire fall season, we’ve had one or two guys play good here and there, but we’ve never had all four guys play well together,” Belsky said. “We’ve finally had four guys who all shot good scores right at the same time.”
Webster had four players finish in the top 11, including a second place finish by junior Steve Kinsman, who shot an even-par 144. Freshman Matt Vanderbeek tied for fifth overall with a 148. Sophomore Andrew Noble shot a 149 and finished tied for eighth.
Junior Kyler Scott tied for 11th overall by shooting a 151. Sophomore Kaleb Kessler shot a 159 and tied for 28th.
Kinsman shot a 71 in the first round and a 73 in the second round. He said it was only a matter of time before he’d shoot such low scores.
“I haven’t been playing too well the previous couple tournaments,” Kinsman said. “I had a couple good rounds, but I was due. Luckily enough, it came in the last tournament and I didn’t have to wait for the offseason.”
Vanderbeek shot a 78 the first round, but bounced back and shot a 70 in the second round. He settled down in the second round after experiencing the course in the first round.
“As soon as I played the first day it got a lot easier,” Vanderbeek said. “The course seemed to open up just because I kind of knew where the holes went and where not to go versus where to go.”
Vanderbeek had a score of 69 in his sights, but the pressure got to him on the last couple holes of round two.
“I was trying to come back from the first day,” Vanderbeek said. “I missed about four putts in the last four holes trying to reach that number.”
Vanderbeek and the rest of Webster’s team finished off the fall season strong. The squad is playing well going into the offseason, and it bodes well for the spring season, which begins in March.
“I’m very happy with where the team is after the fall season,” Belsky said. “We’ve had six guys who averaged in the 70s this year. We’ve never in the entire history of the program had six guys who averaged in the 70s — most of the time it’s been maybe one or two guys. To have six players is huge for where we’re headed in the future.”
The team will participate in a workout class run by Belsky during the offseason. They’ll meet three to four times a week to work out in the pool, hit balls and practice at Tower Tee. Kinsman said the fall season was a success.
“We had a pretty good fall season, so it should help with our ranking quite a bit nationally,” Kinsman said. “It was a success I’d say, but we’re still looking to improve this spring.”
Belsky believes the team will be practicing hard to get ready for the spring season, but he thinks the golfers’ educations should be their main priority in the offseason.
“The guys just have to take care of their own business,” Belsky said. “They’ll practice as they see fit, and I’m sure they’ll be working out. Now it’s time for them to be students and put some of the athletics on the backburner for a little while.”

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