APSU Sports Information Office
Burlington, IA – In his first tournament as Austin Peay State University interim men’s golf coach, Dustin Korte will take an extremely young group of Govs to Golfweek’s Conference Challenge, Sunday-Tuesday, at Spirit Hollow Golf Course.
The Govs will have a team comprised of juniors, Austin Kramer and Chris Baker, and a trio of freshmen– Justin Arens, a Columbus, Ohio product; Jonas Vaisanen, a Karby Finland native, and Luis Navarrete, of Guadalajara, Mexico, to the prestigious three-day event to be held on the par-72, 7,222-yard layout.
“I am excited about that,” Korte said. “I wasn’t counting on it happening but I knew it was a possibility.
“Austin Kramer separated himself (as the No. 1) but the rest of the guys they are very similar. That is a positive and negative. As a group they need to get better but they are right now where they need to be as freshmen. I know they are shooting better scores than I did my freshman year. We have had a very good qualifying experience.”
Baker is the Govs’ most experienced golfer, being part of the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference championship and NCAA Tempe Regional team as well as starting most of the 2013-14 season. But it is Kramer who has ascended to the forefront after a strong summer tourney slate. After watching Korte, Anthony Bradley and Marco Iten play as the Govs’ No. 1 for the past two years, it is now the Knoxville native’s turn.
“He’s ready for sure,” Korte said. “Kramer is on top of his game. He has been playing very, very well, not only here (since school started) but during the summer as well.”
Arens had a strong summer as well, earning a trip to the U.S. Public Links championship while Vaisanen brings outstanding credentials from overseas. That duo earned the trip through qualifying. Navarrete was selected to handle the fifth spot in the lineup.
“I told our guys I was going to play every one of them in the fall so I laid out a schedule,” Korte said. “Luis was a coach’s pick. I chose him because it looks like a fairly tight course—you have to hit some fairways. That certainly has been one of his strengths.”
The tourney will consist of 12 teams from 12 different conferences. In addition to the Govs, who are representing the Ohio Valley Conference, it also will feature host Iowa (Big Ten), Eastern Michigan (Mid-America Conference), LSU (Southeastern Conference), Oregon (Pac-12), Richmond (Atlantic 10), San Jose State (Mountain West), Southeastern Louisiana (Southland), SMU (American Athletic Conference), Texas State (Sun Belt), UTEP (Conference USA) and Xavier (Big East).
“Our guys have to go out and play the course. The holes are tight and long. It will be a test, a patience test, that’s for sure.”
Korte admits to feeling nervousness in preparation of his first head-coaching assignment at his alma mater but hopes having been in their shoes just two years ago will help him better relate to course issues, mentally and physically.
“It certainly a little bit different (being the coach),” said Korte, who two years ago was leading the Govs to an Ohio Valley Conference championship and later competed in the NCAA Championship at Alpharetta, GA. “The nerves are a little bit different going from being a player to a coach. It is all in your hands. You no longer are part of a team, you are (leading the) team. Everything relies on you.
“But I am excited about it—I am excited to see how I can relate to the guys in competition as far as helping them stay calm and focused on doing what they have been taught and what they learn being on the course.”