Belmont ‘s eight-man golf team has five seniors, which sends an obvious message to next season’s young team.
Freshman Elliott Wickenden gets that message.
“What I like about college golf is the competitiveness,” he said. “I like the pressure of having to hit the shot when my team needs it.”
The men’s team wrapped up their season, which spans both fall and spring, placing 9th in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament in Braselton, Ga., giving them their sixth top-10 finish in the 2009-10 competition after a total of 12 tournaments. ETSU finished with a 54-hole score of 859 to take the No. 1 spot, and Belmont finished at 901.
“Our team has the potential to get much better,” Wickenden said. “We have played good rounds and bad rounds, and the bad ones are harder to bounce back from.”
In the conference tournament, two Belmont seniors finished in the top 30. Scott O’Brien tied for 19th with a 54-hole score of 222 and six over par, while Stuart Ashwood tied for 26th with a 224 finish.
And while the team’s 9th-place finish means only two conference teams fell below them, the numbers show a big difference: At 9th, Belmont’s team finished with at 37 over par. But just two spots down at 11th, neighborhood rival Lipscomb finished 92 over.
Pressure surely does come into play on the college level for both men’s and women’s teams. During the round each team is able to take the top four scores and use that toward that day’s total, and many days are decided by one- or two-stroke margins. Those 3-foot par putts seem much longer than they really are when the match is on the line.
Belmont’s women’s team enjoyed a similar season with five top -10 finishes and a 9th-place overall in the A-Sun in the conference tournament at the Venetian Bay Golf Club in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
This years women’s team, in contrast to the men’s, is a young group consisting of five freshmen, two sophomores and one junior.
“As young as we are we really played well; we’ve been scoring well and posting good numbers,” freshman Megan Murphy said. “I’m looking forward to how the team improves, winning some tournaments, and developing into a better golfer and person.”
Murphy also led the team in the tournament, shooting an 80 on the third and final day to finish in 32nd place with a tournament total of 233.
Without a senior on the team the Lady Bruins return with all of their talent and look to compete high in the conference ranks over the next few years. compete high in the conference ranks over the next few years.