Members of the men's golf team said they hoped to get back into the swing of things as their season comes to a close and they head to the Marshall Invitational this weekend in Huntington, W.Va.
Although the team has had an inconsistent season in regards to its record, head coach Adam Decker said he was optimistic about a positive finish to the season and would look forward to the Atlantic 10 conference championships.
"It has been an up and down year," Decker said. "We seem to have a good finish and then one that we are left scratching our heads wondering what happened. We are excited about the remaining events and look forward to finishing up on a positive note."
The team has played against very competitive golf programs in their past few tournaments, he said. The Spiders finished 15th in both the Louisiana Classics and Mobile Intercollegiate tournaments. These strong fields of play will work to their advantage, Decker said.
"Our strength now is that we are coming off of two tournaments that included pretty strong fields," Decker said. "So we are getting used to playing against really good competition. While it may be difficult at the time, it makes the team stronger down the road."
Senior captain Tim Courtney said the team had played better in the fall, but it had finished second in its first tournament of the spring. Since then, the team has struggled to finish in the upper half, he said.
Weather has had an influence on the team's performance as well.
"The week of snow definitely slowed our progress and playing down," Courtney said. "When we went to the Louisiana Classics, we hadn't picked up a club for a week."
The team most recently played in the Mobile Intercollegiate tournament. Although the team did not finish as well as the players said they had envisioned, the team is working toward winning the A-10 championship.
"Our season has been a progression towards that ultimate goal of being A-10 champs," Courtney said.
The team will travel to the Marshall Invitational this weekend. If the players stick to their game plans, Decker said the outcome should be a success.
"It's a fun golf course to play and one that makes you think a lot about where you want to put your balls on the greens," Decker said. "If we can do a good job of sticking to the game plan and executing, we will have a good tournament."
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Freshman Brad Miller has helped shape the team's future, winning his first collegiate event at the Liberty Invitational tournament in the fall.
"I hope we keep getting better as a team and win more as a team," Miller said. "The goal is winning."
The team sentiment is to do well in the A-10 conference championship tournament at the end of this month and then move on to post-season NCAA play.
"I was a part of the team that went to the NCAAs as a freshman," Courtney said. "I would love for the team to make it back there this year."
The team's workouts range from two to five hours per day, six days a week. Miller emphasized the amount of time dedicated to the team.
"We have 6:45 a.m. workouts twice a week, Saturday morning practices, weight training, running and stretching," Miller said. "We don't just play golf when we have workouts or practice."
Members of the team said they hoped that their dedication and commitment would show as they entered play this weekend. Senior captains Courtney and Lawrence Lessing have helped motivate the team during tournaments.
"The leadership of the seniors on the team has been excellent," Miller said. "We've all worked hard as a team and everyone pushes each other to be better."
Coach Decker said: "We are excited about our prospects this week and for the remainder of the season. We have a very young team going and the experience they gain at the Marshall Invitational will be helpful in our long range goal of improving the program and one day contending for a national championship."
Contact reporter Amelia Vogler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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