Trading summer driving ranges and training gear for competition courses and the Bruin uniform, men’s and women’s golf and tennis look to fire into their fall seasons starting this week.
After ending last season as runner-ups in the Ohio Valley Conference Championship tournament, men’s golf kicked off its season on Sept. 13 at the Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational in Huntington, West Virginia.
Head coach Scott Flynn is optimistic about this season and is hoping to build on last season’s successes.
“Even in an inherently individual sport, these guys work hard to support each other,” Flynn said. “It’s a good group to coach.”
The Bruins hope to draw strength from a stellar senior class, Flynn said, referring to Jack Uselton’s consistent play over the years, as well as Coleman Jones’ continuously improving game and Evan Davis’ high competitiveness.
Davis received the OVC Golfer of the Year award, a spot on the All-OVC team in addition to being named to the All-Southeast Region team.
He is currently ranked by Golfstat as the 84th best collegiate player in the nation.
The fifth-year senior said this is his last season with the Bruins.
“This is my last victory lap. I feel pretty old if I’m honest,” Davis said. “I’m super excited.”
Other players joining Davis this season are incoming freshman Michael Senn, who was named Arkansas Outstanding Golfer of the Year while at Bentonville High School. Sophomore Reeve Felner, the reigning OVC Freshman of the Year, is another Bruin to watch.
Following the opening tournament, men’s golf will recharge before going into a stretch of weekly invitationals, concluding play in Chattanooga, Tennessee with the Battle at Black Creek starting Oct. 25.
For the women’s golf team, the season will begin at the UAB Invitational on Sept. 20 in Hoover, Alabama.
Head coach Olivia Jordan named 2020-2021 All-OVC honorees senior Cameron Fish and sophomore Delia Gibbs as players to watch this season, and looks forward to seeing freshmen contribute, she said.
“I think last year I spent a lot of time kind of trying to build their confidence and make them realize that they’re just as good as anybody,” Jordan said. “And this year, I feel that they know that.”
After the UAB showing, the Belmont women’s golf will play two in-state invitationals in October and two out-of-state tournaments. The team concludes its fall schedule with the French Broad Collegiate Invitational on Nov. 7 in Asheville, North Carolina.
Women’s tennis begins its season Sept. 17. with the first of three fall tournaments.
While the last go-round ended with an overall record of 5-9, costing the team a spot at the OVC Championships, this season brings new hope.
“It’s interesting dynamics,” said Mauricio Antun, director of Belmont tennis. “I think just the way the seniors are leading right now and showing the younger girls how we want to do things, how we want to practice, how we want to be teammates, I think has been great.”
Fans can cheer the women on at the Crockett Center for Athletic Excellence during the Belmont Fall Invitational on Oct. 1-3.
The final showing of the fall season will take place at Middle Tennessee State University for the ITA Ohio Valley Regionals taking place Oct. 21-25.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do, where they can start in this new era with the facility,” Antun said. “On the men’s side, I think it’s just trying to have the same feeling we had when we won.”
That men’s team will be raising up two All-OVC Second Team honorees, with senior Arthur Toledo and sophomore Thomas Luis on the roster. It looks like they are set to repeat as OVC Champions this season.
The team will play in five tournaments this fall, the first of which being the Coach Dale Short Shootout in Murfreesboro on Sept. 17, followed by the ITA Ohio Valley Regional on Sept. 23 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“Having a good quality schedule and tough competition, I know it’s gonna get us ready for the spring,” Antun said.
PHOTO: Super senior Evan Davis of Belmont men’s golf. Courtesy of Tyra Finkeldey.
This article was written by Jessica Mattsson, Paul Rackley and Daniela Gonzalez.