Men’s and women’s golf team off to a good start

Wally Pendergrass

Staff Writer

The Troy Trojan men’s and women’s golf teams had great starts to their spring season this past weekend.

The men finished fifth after a solid final day and the women finished tied for sixth with fellow conference opponent Arkansas State. The men finished ahead of four nationally ranked teams: No. 27 Liberty, No. 47 Tennessee, No. 51 North Florida and No. 54 Louisville.

The women weren’t going to be outdone by the men and put up a solid finish of their own at the Kiawah Island Classic. The Trojan women would finish tied for sixth after battling less than ideal conditions on day two of the tournament. The Trojans would battle rain and wind that would gust up to 20 mph and remain in contention despite those conditions.

Junior Taylor McGraw started the tournament off in spectacular fashion finishing day one at 3-under par. That put her in a tie for the individual lead after day one and the Trojan team led the tournament at the end of day one as well.

With the weather conditions beating down on the Trojans, the team pushed through, despite slipping to eighth place after day two, and were only thirteen strokes out of first entering the final day. McGraw and fellow junior Brooks Spinks led the Trojans in the final day and both would finish tied for eighth individually.

Junior Sydney Conrad finished in a tie for 45th, while freshmen Becca Horner and Fàtima Fernàndez Cano finished in a tie for 53rd and 128th, respectively. Next up for the women is the 3M Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate in Augusta, Ga., on March 14-16.

The men’s team participated in the John Hayt Invitational at the Sawgrass Country Club in Pointe Vedra, Fla.  During the first round of play on Sunday, March 2, rain halted the action for over three hours. Eventually, once play resumed, darkness would cause the Trojans to only get midway through their round. They were tied for 11th at the time.

On Monday, March 3, the Trojans would have to finish up their first round as well as play their entire

second round. The Trojans finished Monday in tenth place and had a top five finish well within sight. On Tuesday, March 4, the Trojans cashed in on their opportunities.

The Trojans shot a 288 on Tuesday, which was second best only to tournament winner Oklahoma State. The team shot their way up the leaderboard behind a 3-under round by junior Phillip Brennan and a 1-under round by freshman Jared Bettcher.

Bettcher came out on fire, shooting birdies on his first two holes and then fired a hole-in-one ace on the par-3, 201 yard No. 15. Brennan and Bettcher finished tied for 21st individually, while junior Tolver Dozier finished 33rd. Junior Jake Tucker and freshman Clayton Vannoy finished 46th and junior Wil Clowdus, who entered the tournament as an individual, finished 41st.

“I’m really proud of the way our guys played throughout the tournament,” said head coach Matt Terry. “We challenged them right out of the break with a difficult field to play against and they responded. We have to build on this result and continue to press forward to reach our goal of an NCAA Regional berth.”

Next up for the men’s team is the Tiger Invitational in Auburn on March 10-11.

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