The South Dakota State men’s golf team faces new challenges this year and the first is a young roster. Gone are three seniors who helped guide the Jackrabbits to the program’s first tournament title since 2009 and a third-place finish at the 2013 Summit League Golf Championships.
With three returning golfers, head coach Jared Baszler will have to fill the other two roster spots with the four new additions.
“Coming off a very strong summer of amateur golf, I expect the men to build on their momentum from last year,” Baszler said. “We will have to rely on our freshman class to come in and contribute right away, but they have the talent to do that.”
Senior Hudson Carpenter is back for his final collegiate campaign and looking to build off of a junior season where he finished second in the Summit League in scoring average (73.04) and earned First Team All-Summit League honors.
“He’s one of the more experienced players we’ve ever had based on rounds played. And that ties into his creativity and his imagination on the golf course,” Baszler said. “He’s probably the best I’ve ever seen in that regard in the 11 years I’ve been coaching here.”
Fellow senior Lukas Davison came on strong last spring, finishing in the top 25 at the Summit League Tournament. The Fargo native posted a 76.36 scoring average in the 2012-13.
“Lukas has always been a really steady player for us. He is a really good ball striker and he has a lot of different shots in his bag,” Baszler said. “He is very steady with his emotions and mental game on the golf course which is good on the days we play 36 holes of golf.”
The Jackrabbits’ other returner is sophomore Austin Sitter. He posted a 77.13 scoring average in 16 rounds in his first season at SDSU.
“He hits the ball pretty well, but he’s kind of a streaky putter so, when he puts well, he plays well,” Baszler said. “We can always count on him to be a solid contributor for us regardless of the position he is playing.”
South Dakota State added four new faces to the roster with the addition of transfer Dylan Baker and freshmen Ian Rinken, Grant Smith and Trevor Tobin.
Baker, a sophomore from Eden Prairie, Minn., played his freshman season at University of Idaho where he posted a 75.25 average over 12 rounds in the fall season.
“Dylan is a really good player. He has a good feel and knowledge for the game,” Baszler said. “He won the State Am in South Dakota this summer for a reason.”
Rinken, from Sioux Falls, was a three-time all-state selection (2010-12) and was named the 2011 South Dakota Golf Association (SDGA) Junior Player of the Year. He also finished second at the 2011 SDGA Junior Amateur.
“Ian is a good ball striker and has a lot of shots in his bag,” Baszler said. “He’s good off the tee and has an even demeanor on the course.”
Smith was named the 2013 SDGA Matchplay Champion and ranked as the number one recruit in Iowa, according to National Junior Golf Scoreboard. The Des Moines, Iowa, product was the 4-A state runner-up in 2012 and was a three-time all-state selection.
“Grant doesn’t act like a freshman and doesn’t play like a freshman. He’s on track to being one of our better players going forward,” Baszler said. “He is a really steady player. For being a tall golfer, he has a very smooth swing which you don’t always see. He is sneaky long off the tee, and when he gets his putter going that is when he can play some really good golf.”
Tobin was ranked the number one 2013 recruit in South Dakota by National Junior Golf Scoreboard. The Brandon native was a four-time all-state pick and recorded three top-10 finishes (2009-2011). Additionally, Tobin named to the Class AA all-tournament team in 2010 and 2011.
“Trevor has a great short game, a good approach to the game,” Baszler said. “His attitude and work ethic have been commended by not just me, but by his teammates. We are looking forward to a bright future for him here. He was a very accomplished player in the junior ranks and the amateur ranks coming into the program.”