Eagles Open Spring Schedule on Sunday in Golfweek Spring Invitational
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — After letting a one-stroke lead
slip away in the third round of the South Atlantic Conference
Championship last season, the Carson-Newman men’s golf team
is determined to get back to that position in 2010 to attempt to
finish the deal.
The Eagles will begin their march to the SAC Championship on Sunday as they open their spring schedule in the Golfweek Spring Invitational at the Union Resort in Orlando, Fla.
“(Last year’s third place finish) is the lowest we’ve ever finished in the SAC,” said C-N head coach John Minor, who is in his ninth season at Mossy Creek. “We have one shot at winning a conference tournament. That’s the way it is in all of college golf, but that’s a difficult environment.”
“It’s a lot of pressure, and we did not respond to the pressure last year. We did not respond to it because we didn’t have the discipline we needed. Our discipline is much better this season, and our expectations are definitely to finish that golf tournament this year.”
C-N faces a tough test in its first tournament of the spring, as it will go up against a loaded field in the three-round Golfweek Spring Invitational.
“It’s definitely a privilege to be invited to this tournament,” Minor said. “It’s an invitational tournament. There are a lot of great Division II schools there. Our spring schedule has a lot of loaded fields, but this team can compete at that level. It’s just a matter of a little bit of luck and a whole lot of discipline and having some momentum.”
The Eagles enter the spring schedule without a key member of the team after losing senior Brad Robinson (Johnson City, Tenn.) to graduation in December. Robinson turned in four top 10 finishes for the Eagles in the fall.
Despite Robinson’s departure, Minor feels C-N has plenty of pieces to have a very successful spring.
“We lost a really good player in Brad Robinson, but I expect this team to play well,” Minor said. “They have worked extremely hard, considering the weather that we have had. So much of what we do is about attitude, and this team has a very solid attitude.”
“Golf is a fickle game. I just really hope things go our way because if it does initially, we will gain some momentum and do some good stuff this year.”
Leading the way for the Eagles in the spring will be sophomore Liam Ashby (Dublin, Ireland) and junior Adam Holt (Liverpool, England).
Ashby turned in two top 10 finishes in the fall, including a third place showing at the Honda of Columbia Fall Classic. Holt missed the fall schedule because of an injury but he is expected to give the Eagles a boost in the spring.
“(Holt) is in his last semester of golf. He’s very driven,” Minor said. “He is co-team captain right now with Liam Ashby. They are leading the charge with this. They are very talented and set the tone for us.”
Juniors John Minor Jr. (Dandridge, Tenn.) and Chase Conn (Mason, Ohio) and freshman Gavin Hay (Glasgow, Scotland) are also expected to turn in solid scores for the Eagles in 2010.
“John Minor Jr. is probably playing the best golf he has ever played before and is playing with a lot of confidence,” Minor said. “Chase Conn was within one shot of going to the U.S. Amateur last year, and his confidence is also high. Gavin Hay is a very scrappy guy that gets it in the hole.”
“We have five guys that can score, and that’s not always the case. That’s certainly something you try to establish as a coach. I think the chemistry of the team is good, but we might need a little bit more confidence. Hopefully, we can get that in (the Golfweek Spring Invitational).”
Junior Dustin Davis (Knoxville, Tenn.) and freshman Michael Horenkamp (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) round out the C-N roster.
The Eagles wrap up their spring schedule on March 29-30 in the Bearcat Invitational at Greenwood Country Club in Greenwood, S.C. C-N will then travel to Etowah, N.C., on April 19 to play in the SAC Championship at Etowah Valley Country Club.