Wetterich Preps For Spring Season At Unique National Invitational
Springfield, Ohio th When the spring season kicks off for the Wittenberg University men's golf team with The Members Invitational at The Golf Club at Indigo Run in Hilton Head, SC, on Thursday, March 7, no one figures to feel more prepared than junior David Wetterich (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle).
(Media-Newswire.com) - Springfield, Ohio – When the spring season kicks off for the Wittenberg University men’s golf team with The Members Invitational at The Golf Club at Indigo Run in Hilton Head, SC, on Thursday, March 7, no one figures to feel more prepared than junior David Wetterich ( Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle ).
He has joined his teammates in the team’s indoor practice facilities in Wittenberg’s HPER Center during the winter months, but Wetterich also had the unique opportunity to measure himself against some of the best competition in the nation during the university’s winter break. He finished in a tie for 58th place in the 84-player field at the Patriot All-America Invitational at The Wigwam Golf Club, Dec. 29-30, in Litchfield Park, Ariz., but his performance on the course was just part of the story.
Wetterich was invited to the second annual 54-hole amateur event after earning second-team All-America honors at the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. Invitations to the Patriot All-America were based on PING All-America honors earned the previous season in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, as well as NAIA and NJCAA Divisions I and II. In addition, Golf Coaches Association of America ( GCAA ) national award recipients, members of the most recent Palmer Teams and AJGA All-Americans and Toyota Junior Golf World Cup participants were invited.
What makes the event unique is that each golfer has the added opportunity to honor fallen heroes from all branches of the military. Players carry red, white and blue golf bags with the name, rank and branch of a soldier lost in battle. Wetterich was playing in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mario Carazo of Carlsbad, Calif., who was flying a helicopter that was shot down during a combat mission in Afghanistan on July 22, 2010.
“The purpose of the tournament was unlike any other I've played in,” Wetterich said. “I've never officially played for anyone, so I liked the fact that everyone in the field honored a fallen veteran. I got to find out a lot about Lt. Col. Carazo, and it didn't take me long to realize that it was a blessing to be playing in the event.
“The military's involvement in the tournament was probably one of the best parts of it. It was really cool to have veterans watching you and supporting you. On top of that, the opening ceremony and opening dinner( s ) were unbelievable. We were able to pick the brains of many military officers and see what exactly they do. One of them was actually a pilot in the Air Force who was an All-American golfer at Texas and the reigning Arizona Amateur and Mid-Amateur champion.”
Wetterich said the course was one of the most challenging he had ever played, with fast greens, tight hole locations and demanding tee shots. He wasn’t pleased with his scores ( 75, 77 and 75 ) but said he “felt privileged to be playing alongside the best collegiate golfers in the country.”
The competition he faced in Arizona and at another tournament over the break in North Carolina have Wetterich primed for another strong finish in 2013 after the Tigers finished seventh in the nation in 2012. In the fall season, Wittenberg won two of five tournaments, including the prestigious Ohio Wesleyan Gordin Classic, and the Tigers were ranked 12th in the Nov. 21, 2012, GCAA poll and 15th in the final Golfstat rankings that are based on head-to-head performance.
“As the spring season approaches, I'm beginning to feel very confident” Wetterich said. “I feel the team is well-rested and ready to do big things. We learned a lot from the fall season – we had our ups and downs, but we now know we can compete and win against the best teams in the country.
“Individually, I'd like to retain my All-America status and just play the best I can play. I feel I'm so close to breaking through and playing great golf. I know what I'm capable of and I'm ready to play to my full potential and do big things.”
The Tigers have won three straight North Coast Athletic Conference championships, and have turned in top-10 finishes in two of the last three NCAA Division III Tournaments. Wetterich posted the top scoring average on the team in 2011-12 at 75.4 strokes per round. His average is 74.9 through nine rounds so far in the 2012-13 season.
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