Golf Opens 2012-13 Season Sunday at The Ocean Course
VIDEO: Interview with Sophomore Scott Wolfes
STATESBORO, Ga. - As the Georgia Southern golf team opens the fall portion of its 2012-13 season, head coach Larry Mays and the Eagles are searching for consistency.
Last season, the Eagles had a tendency to put up a low score in one round and a high score in the next, making it tough to put themselves in position to contend for a tournament title. The adversity that often presents itself on the golf course proved to be too much for the Eagles over the course of the season.
"We would put up the 15th best score one round and the third best the next round," said Mays. "When you have that big of a difference between rounds, it is tough to put yourself in a position to win a tournament. We need guys to understand that every shot and every round counts."
Georgia Southern still finished second at the Southern Conference Championships, but the expectations for the program during Mays' tenure have been elevated to a point where a successful season means a postseason appearance in the NCAAs.
With a relatively young team containing just one senior on the roster, Mays will use the fall to find golfers who demonstrate that consistency. The fall schedule presents plenty of opportunities to test his talented group, beginning with the first tournament at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, the site of the 2012 PGA Championship.
"The Ocean Course will be a great test right out of the gate," said Mays. "Our guys were watching the pros play that course in a major championship a month ago on TV, and now they get to go play there."
Playing well in the fall will present two rewards for the Eagles. The first is that Georgia Southern will travel to Hawaii for a tournament in the first weekend of November.
"We're only taking five guys to Hawaii, so it's nice to have that carrot out there," said Mays. "Our five best guys will get rewarded with a great trip."
The second reward for a good fall is the opportunity to compete in more tournaments in the spring and ultimately play in the SoCon Championship in April.
"There will be some battles to see who gets on the bus each week," said Mays. "They are all trying to build resumes to see who will lead us in the spring. We're looking for grinders, who even when they are having a bad day, can put up a score we can work with."
A pair of junior captains, Will Evans and Hayden Anderson, will look to provide some of that consistency for the Eagles. They are the veterans of the team along with junior Drew Guffey, having played two seasons for Georgia Southern. Evans averaged 74.22 strokes a round last season, while Anderson, who played 27 rounds of tournament golf last year, posted a scoring average of 75.70.
"Will and Hayden are both tournament tested and steady," said Mays. "They have both had some good success."
Guffey had a scoring average of 76.17 in two tournaments but an injury forced him to miss a large portion of the schedule.
"Drew broke his leg last spring and started back towards the end of the summer," said Mays. "We'll see how he progresses as we move forward."
Mays hopes sophomore Scott Wolfes, the 2012 SoCon Freshman of the Year who tied for fourth at the SoCon Championships, will take another step forward.
"He'll be a big cog in the machine this year and a SoCon Player of Year candidate," said Mays. "He had a good freshman season and a really good summer."
Mays also expects senior Blake Olson to continue his progress. Despite being a senior, this will be Olson's second campaign with the Eagles after transferring from West Florida. He had a 75.57 scoring average in 30 rounds of action last season.
"Blake continues to improve and should be a bigger part of the picture for us this year," said Mays.
Mays is hoping sophomore Matt Mierzejewski will continue his progress. He had a scoring average of 76 in 18 rounds.
"Matt had a good summer, and we hope he can continue to build off the tournament experience he gained last year," said Mays.
Charlie Martin also had his season cut short and is looking to return to form this year. The sophomore had a scoring average of 73.27 in five tournaments in the fall but missed a majority of the spring.
"Charlie had a great fall and got Mono in the spring," said Mays. "He never really made it back. He tried to play but just wasn't himself. He's healthy and ready to go."
Henry Mabbet and Caleb Morris redshirted the 2011-12 campaign and are ready to get a taste of collegiate tournament golf.
"Both Henry and Caleb worked hard on their games and are eager to prove they have what it takes," said Mays. "They are searching for consistency in a tournament atmosphere."
A pair of newcomers will try to work their way into the mix. Christian Humber, a junior from Central Alabama Community College, and Chris Sells, a freshman from Benedictine Military School in Savannah, join the Eagles for their first campaign.
Humber was a 2011 PING All-American, named all-region in 2012 and won three tournaments at Central Alabama, while Sells was named all-state in 2012 and all-region three times.
"Christian had a great career in junior college and will be a steady influence on the team," said Mays. "Chris was the salutatorian of his class at Benedictine and had a good junior career, so we're expecting good things from him at Georgia Southern."
The Eagles can bring six players to the first two tournaments, which will give an extra player a chance to play in a tournament environment and get some seasoning.
"We have a good fall schedule with tournaments that will test us," said Mays. "If we play well, we should be in contention. We're searching for that consistency from round to round, and we want to get to the last day with a chance to win."
- Category: Golf
- Published on Sunday, 31 December 1899 19:00