Golf teams play well in early season tournaments



In the short time golf coach Brian Costello has been at Oakland University, his men’s and women’s golf teams have seen an immense amount of success.

He is hoping 2010 will maintain that trend.

“Both programs have come a long way in the four years I’ve been here,” Costello said. “We want to continue to get better every year, and hopefully capture the Summit League championship this year. That was my goal when I started here — to start winning championships that the program had never won and to bring in players like Liz (Ecker) and Jakob (Ziegler) that have anchored our programs.”

Those anchors, junior Liz Ecker and sophomore Jakob Ziegler, are two of OU’s golfers that have enjoyed success so far in the early part of the season.

Ziegler won the Turning Stone Tiger Invitational on Sept. 6 with a final round score of 1-under-par 71, scoring 215 for the entire invitational. As a whole, the men’s team finished in eighth place, shooting a combined 922.

The Berlin-born sophomore is the first Oakland golfer to win tournaments in consecutive seasons since Brian Stuard and Jon Pauli in 2004 and 2005.

“That was a fantastic course,” Ziegler said. “I think it’s one of the hardest courses I’ve ever played, especially with the wind. We had pretty hard conditions there — there was a lot of wind, the greens were fast, lots of slope. I just kept it on the fairway and stayed out of trouble; I didn’t lose one ball there, which helps.”

At the Bucknell Invitational on Sept. 12, Ecker shot a final round score of 7-over-par 77 to finish in a tie for ninth place, with a final score of 229 for the invitational. The women’s squad also finished in eighth place with a score of 970.

“I had just come off of an injury, so I was happy to finish in the top 10, but I definitely feel like I could have performed a lot better,” Ecker said. “I felt going in I had the ability to win that tournament, but I’m happy with the turnout.”

In a season with just one tournament being played in Michigan (the women’s team will take part in the Detroit Titans Invitational), both teams have grown accustomed to the travel and look forward to visiting the various courses on their schedules.

“I’m really excited for the Florida International University tournament because I’m from Florida. I’ll be playing against some of the girls I played junior golf with from three or four years ago,” said Ecker. “I’m really looking forward to getting home and playing a tournament there.”

Despite the differences in the teams travel plans, Costello has enjoyed the duty of scheduling for both teams.

“All tournaments in college are invitational, so what you get invited to is what determines what you play in. We’ve played some great tournaments the last three years, and this year is no exception,” Costello said. “It’s pretty taxing on me, for sure. I have to be in two places at one time; it’s kind of impossible to do until we can figure out this cloning thing.”

One key figure that OU is missing this season is Frank McAuliffe, who graduated this past semester.

The two-time All-League performer ended his career with the fifth-best all-time scoring average (76.1) in Oakland history, as well as consecutive top-five finishes in the Summit League championships in 2008 and 2009.

With new recruits, as well as key returning golfers, both teams look to be competitive once again.

The women’s team will host Detroit Sept. 19 for the OU Challenge, while the men’s team will travel to Lemont, Ill. on Sept. 25 to take on DePaul for the John Dallio Memorial.