Preparation pays off

Butler men’s golf team after the Tom Tontimonia Invitational. Photo courtesy of Butler University Athletics


The men’s golf team won its first tournament of the year at the Tom Tontimonia Invitational in West Lake, Ohio. While pleased with the result, head coach Colby Huffman is more proud of his team for the effort they put in. 

“I keep my expectations more along the lines of effort and just making sure that they’re doing their very best each and every tournament,” Huffman said. “You always expect to play well, but the most important thing is the full effort and that they’re just doing their best to do all that they can.” 

Huffman is not changing his expectations of the team based on one win. He wants his team to always be ready and to do their best on the course. 

“If you’re prepared 100%, then you have more confidence, and you can hope to play well,” Hufford said. “That was kind of the main message. [Scores are] really just a product of preparation. Expectations are just based on how close you can come to your best, and then the numbers take care of themselves. We still play to win. We still compete, but that’s more of a second priority … Numbers take care of themselves.” 

This first win has given the team confidence. It has been a while since the golf team has won a tournament, so earning first place has encouraged the team to keep working hard. 

Junior Damon Dickey is currently the leading scorer of the golf team. It is evident that the hard work he puts in is paying off. 

Dickey placed first at the Tom Tontimonia Invitational. His 203 matched the best 54-hole score in program history regardless of par as Gehrig Hollatz’s total came on a par-70 course. His total scores were 68-66-69-203 which put his score at -10. 

“It’s just a product of sticking to the process over time,” Dickey said. “It’s putting in the time necessary every day and every week. It’s just a summation of everything that coach and I, and the rest of the team, have worked on for the past few years. Sometimes it comes together, and this last week it did.” 

While Dickey has won Big East Golfer of the Week twice in his career, he tries to not let the attention get to his head. He just wants to play golf and worry about the next event, not the names and titles that come along with it. 

“I think it’s really cool,” Dickey said. “It’s something that can help you build confidence. I appreciate it, but I don’t try to think about it too much. If I get caught thinking about it too much, I’ll kind of slack off. I’m really more focused on the next event and not worried about it.” 

During the match, Dickey really tried to focus on the next shot and not get too far ahead of himself. He defines focusing on the game as a fun challenge. 

Dickey agrees with Huffman about the importance of being prepared and that the scores will hopefully reflect that. They both want the team to keep developing in the right direction. 

“If we can just keep preparing like we have, we can keep repeating results like this, and we can keep growing and keep getting better,” Dickey said. “This last tournament was just the beginning of our success … It’ll get even better from here.” 

Redshirt junior Daniel Tanaka enjoys playing golf with people at a higher level because it pushes him to play better. Tanaka finished the tournament with a score of 204 (-9). This score placed him second overall, just one stroke behind Dickey. 

“[Having] other players that are always around your level and even better than you on a lot of occasions definitely pushes you to be better,” Tanaka said. “You want to practice more because there always is something that pushes you to want to be the best version of yourself and see the best out of your game. You can just continue to improve and be competitive.” 

The Bulldogs took the lead in the match and never looked back on the way to an overall team victory. Hoping for an overall win, the team supported each other throughout the entire tournament. 

“It’s always fun when you get higher up on the leaderboard and you see the team on the top,” Tanaka said. “Obviously that’s the main goal. I’ve always been going to these tournaments, not thinking of getting myself placement, but trying to get the team the best place then. You know that all the guys behind you are with you and they’re playing their hardest, so it keeps pushing you to want to play your hardest. In the end, it just worked out at this tournament, and hopefully we’ll continue.” 

Winning at the Division I level is not easy. The team relies on being persistent and confident in order to be the best they can be and compete with high caliber teams. 

“You gotta be pretty consistent as a team and have four guys out of your five, or even five guys, usually that are contributing pretty consistently,” Tanaka said. “It’s obviously hard, and it’s not easy to play golf and compete at a high level. You gotta be pretty confident and continue to push yourself and practice your hardest and be prepared as coach [said], because if you start slacking, then all the teams are just going to start passing you pretty quickly.” 

While the Bulldogs are excited about their first win, they look forward to competing in their next tournament. They head to Maineville, Ohio to compete in the Xavier Invitational on Monday, Oct. 17 and Tuesday, Oct. 18. 


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