By Ben Kowalski
The Webster University men’s golf team achieved its highest ranking in program history. The Gorloks are ranked 20th out of the top 25 Division III teams in the country by Golfstat, up one place from their previous ranking of 21.
Golfstat is partnered with the NCAA and has been scoring amateur and professional golf tournaments since 1984.
Webster won the season-opening Culver’s Edgewood College Fall Classic along with two second-place finishes at the Carthage Tim Kopka Memorial Tournament and Rhodes Fall Classic. Rounded out by a third-place finish at the Tempest Intercollegiate, the Gorloks finished in the top five teams in each tournament this fall.
Junior Will Hocker led the surge for the Gorloks, placing in the top ten in all five tournaments they played in. He received medalist honors at the Culver’s Edgewood College Classic and is currently ranked eighth in the country by Golfstat as an individual.
“Being ranked is great and it feels good to be recognized,” Hocker said. “But if we don’t qualify for the national championships, then it doesn’t really matter.”
Hocker was clear his main focus was the team’s success and qualifying for the national championships in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. . He currently leads the team with a 71.17 scoring average and set a school-record low round of 63, eight under par, at the Tim Kopka Memorial Tournament.
Senior Cole Pickett recorded two top-five finishes this fall along with medalist honors at the Country Club Classic at Millikin University. Pickett shot two total rounds of par or better.
“The team is certainly pleased with the ranking,” Pickett said. “It’s a representation of all the hours of practice we’ve put in since coming together over two years ago. It’s not something we talk about though. It’s more of a checkpoint on the right track”.
Pickett said the team is more worried about winning and getting better every day than their Golfstat ranking.
“I believe we’ve set that as a standard for our team now,” Pickett said.
Junior Mitchell Vetter was another standout for the Gorloks this fall. Vetter placed third at the first tournament and is third on the team in scoring average with a 75.17. He said he feels hopeful for the upcoming spring season and says the team has a different feeling about it than years past.
“We have great team communication,” Vetter said. “We have made new changes every year and things are coming together.
Vetter went on to say that everyone on the team is friends with one another and their high morale as a group benefits their performance on the course.
The team will kick off the spring season in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Desert Classic hosted by UMSL from March 1 to March 3 at Royal Links Golf Club.