Omaha golf spring season preview

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Ben Helwig
CONTRIBUTOR

A golfer from the University of Nebraska Omaha hits the ball.
Omaha’s Zora Gittens tees off. Photo courtesy of OMavs.com.

In now his fourth year leading both the men’s and women’s team, golf head coach Seth Porter and his teams roll out for a new season for the Mavericks.

Both the men’s and women’s teams were supposed to begin play back on Sep. 9 with match play against North Dakota State, but both were cancelled. Instead of beginning the season together, the two teams parted ways and began their respective seasons apart.

The women got underway last week in Flossmoor, Illinois, at the Loyola Fall Invitational on Sept. 16 and 17. The Mavericks placed seventh out of nine teams, but considering all the turnover from last year, a few growing pains were to be expected.

After the departure of proven leader Jordan York, as well as fellow senior Mandy Boyle, there was certainly a void to fill on the team. Zora Gittens was certainly the favorite to step up. After several great outings last year as a freshman, the now-sophomore is expected to take a bigger leap this season.

Gittens finished as the top scorer for Omaha at the Loyola Fall Invitational, tying for 20th overall. Hannah Hunke, a solid contributor from last year, finished second on the team in scoring, with senior Samantha Chong rounding out the top three.

With three freshmen on the roster, giving the new athletes ample opportunity to gain experience was an important goal in week one. Newbie Mandi Granato finished in the top 40, playing her first ever tournament in her home state of Illinois. Fellow freshman Izzie Puk also gained valuable reps, playing as an individual in her first career action.

At the time of print, the women’s squad will have played the first day of the MVC Season Preview hosted by University of Northern Iowa on Sept. 23.

Switching gears to the men’s team—they have yet to begin their 2019-2020 season, at the time of print. The team will kick things off Monday, Sept. 23 at the Derek Dolec Intercollegiate at SIUE. The Mavs have fond memories of this event, as they finished second out of 17 teams at SIUE last season.

Like the women’s team, the men’s team sees a lot of turnover. Omaha loses two of their top four scorers from last season in Kevin Gordon, first, and Cole Christian, fourth. Seniors Witchayapat Sinsrang and Nick Kagy are poised to step into the top spots, as the duo finished second and third, respectively, in scoring a season ago.

As far as other players to watch, keep an eye on senior Parker Waters. The only other senior on the roster, Waters played three rounds competitively last year. With the departures of Gordon and Christian, Coach Porter may lean on this senior to lead, especially early in the season.

Also, look for some freshmen to make an impact on the team. With three freshmen on the roster, Josh Peters, Phoomintr Kaewvichien and Josh Bartels, the Mavericks will have to call upon the youngsters to step up, if necessary.

After SIUE, the men head to Des Moines to play in the Zach Johnson Invitational at Drake on Sep. 30 and Oct. 1.

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