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Bunis, McGriff earn All-Conference golf honors

Evan Bunis ’18 led Grinnell at Conference with a fifth place finish. Photo by Hung Vuong

Sam Catanzaro, Sports Editor

Evan Bunis ’18 led Grinnell at Conference with a fifth place finish. Photo by Hung Vuong
Evan Bunis ’18 led Grinnell at Conference with a fifth place finish.
Photo by Hung Vuong

Under dreary and wet skies in Rockford, Ill., the Grinnell men’s golf team saw their season come to a bittersweet end at the Midwest Conference Championships. On one hand, All-Conference honors collected by Evan Bunis ’18 and Zach McGriff ’18 sent the team home with a smile, the first time since 1994 that two Grinnell golfers have won these honors. A fifth place finish in the team standings, however, left the Pioneers with a dose of disappointment.

“I think the team had a pretty good chance to win,” Bunis said. “But we did not give ourselves a chance after the first day.”

After the first day of competition, the Pioneers found themselves in fifth place, 26 points behind the first place team Carroll University. Despite chipping away at Carroll’s lead in the remaining two days of the tournament, Grinnell was unable to make up enough ground to lift them in the standings. Bunis and McGriff led the team with 5th and 8th place finishes respectively while Jp DeFranco ’18 and Carlo Morini ’19 finished in a tie for 26th place.

“We maybe put a little too much pressure on ourselves. Maybe we wanted it a little it too much which froze up us and didn’t let us play out own games,” Bunis said. “I was resilient the last two days. It felt good to come back and finish in the top five.”

The three-day tournament held at Aldeen Golf Club fell victim to cold, rainy and windy conditions. This meant that the players had to wear more clothes, which hindered their mobility, affecting their swing mechanics. McGriff is from Grinnell and thus had an advantage over players from places with warmer climates.

“I was very familiar playing in these elements and that experience helped keep my mind on the next shot,” McGriff said.

In addition to the below-par weather, McGriff suffered a freak accident to his left knee the night before the tournament. While this did not hinder his swing, it did make the walk between holes more difficult.

“I believe, given the circumstances, that I left everything I had on the course,” McGriff said. “Mechanically speaking, I believe my swing was where it needed to be.”

Bunis, who is from New England, was also familiar to such unfavorable conditions, but says that at the end of the day, there really is no way one can golf to their full capacity on such days.

“There really isn’t a way to deal with it. You just have to suck it up and deal with it,” Bunis said.

With their season over, the Pioneers are now looking ahead to the fall. While they no doubt want to forget some things about this year’s MWC, in order to make it to the podium they must take away new perspective from such performances.

“We have to learn from this experience and identify what it really takes to walk away MWC champions,” McGriff said.  “I believe that our team has the talent and it’s only a matter of time before things start to click.”

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