Eagle Golf Opens Season This Weekend
The Eagles return eight golfers and add two talented freshmen to what is shaping up to be a competitive mix. The 2008-09 season opens this weekend at the Maryland Intercollegiate. The 54-hole tournament will be played at the River Marsh Golf Club at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in
Georgia Southern and the other 17 teams will play 36 holes on Saturday (Sept. 6) and finish with 18 holes on Sunday. Head coach Larry Mays thinks this will be a great start to the season for his squad.
“It’s a good field. You have got some real good teams... the
Mays thinks the pieces are in place to make a run at the NCAAs, now it’s time for the team to go out and perform.
“We had a young team last year but we needed more experience. This year hopefully these young guys that gained experience last year can build on that and improve this year,” said the ninth-year head coach. “Add into the mix some good young players and I think the foundation is built. Now we have to go out there and get the job done.”
Leading the way will be three seniors: Drew Lethem (
LeFevre actually finished second last year averaging 74.29 per round with Lethem close behind at 74.38 through 29 rounds.
“We have some guys with a lot of experience returning. Drew Lethem just got back from the U.S. Amateur. He advanced to match play but was eliminated by a Walker Cup team member. He came in from junior college where he was one of the top JUCO players in the country. We’ve had him for a year and a half and this being his final year I think will be a big year for him. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. He played pretty much every tournament for us last year but wasn’t really satisfied with how he played so we are expecting big things from him,” said Mays. “Ryan (LeFevre) is another four-year guy who has played a good bit each year. I think he is looking to rubber stamp his career as well.”
Johnstun is looking to rebound from a disappointing junior year. He averaged 74.11 his sophomore year but slipped to 77.5 last season. Last summer Johnstun shot an opening round 69 at the U.S. Amateur but just missed the match play cut by two strokes. Mays thinks Johnstun is ready to finish his career on a high note.
Even with the key upperclassmen last year, it was a freshman who led the way.
“Our expectations for
Blondell’s Freshman of the Year’ award marked the fifth time in the last eight years an Eagle captured the accolade. According to Mays, that streak could very well continue.
“We signed two highly touted freshmen in Sean Brannan (
Juniors Spencer Fulford (
Junior Coleman Calhoun (Vidalia/Vidalia/Darton CC), redshirt-freshman Kyle Cothran (Soddy Daisy, TN/Soddy Daisy) and junior Matt Deal (Statesboro/Statesboro) will also challenge for a spot on the top five or six travel squad.
“One of the things that may have hurt us as a young team the last couple of years was we may have started out too tough. Playing on different terrains sometimes can be hard to get used to, the last couple of years we went up to
Many of the spring tournaments are at familiar places, starting with the Gator Invitational.
“This spring we play our traditional schedule - the (
In order to make that return trip to the NCAA Regionals, GS and the rest of Division I programs will have to adjust to the .500 winning percentage rule.
“The .500 rule is that you have to have a .500 winning percentage in order to advance to the NCAA. In the old system you wanted to play the hardest courses and the best competition you can because you had only eight spots in your district to get into regionals, then maybe 1-4 an at-large,” said Mays. “Now you have 64-66 spots and 20-some bids by winning your conference, so it’s more important to play a solid schedule and maybe get some confidence and wins on the board. I think we have a nice mix of a schedule this year, competing in some tournaments we can build some confidence and be in the mix to win.
“We’ve never had that before because golf is different from other sports in that you are not playing one team head-to-head, you are playing in a field of 12, 15 or 18 teams. The Schenkel has had 12 of the top 25 teams in the country in the field. If you finish 12th and you didn’t lose to anyone who wasn’t ranked in the Top 25’ you could actually move up in the rankings. Now with the .500 rule you could finish 13th or 18th in the Schenkel and move up in the rankings but you lost ground on the .500 rule. So you have schedule more careful,” said Mays. “You could finish ninth all year long in against top competition, and you beat everyone you are supposed to, you might be ranked 25th in the country. Now you can do still that, be ranked 25th and finish with 79 wins to 80 losses and you’re sitting at home.”
- Category: Golf
- Published on Tuesday, 02 September 2008 00:16