Photo Courtesy: Ben McKeown/Belmont Athletics
Following a successful 2014 fall season for Belmont, the men’s and women’s golf teams look to return to the tee and compete for an Ohio Valley Conference title this spring.
In the preseason poll released last month, the men were picked to finish fourth in their conference and the women were selected to finish sixth.
Both teams will be competing in tournaments across the South leading up to the OVC conference championship. The women’s conference championship will be held April 20-22 in Huntsville, Ala. and the men’s conference championship will be held April 23-25 in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
The men’s team is looking to build off a 2014 fall season which saw top-five finishes for the Bruins in three of the five events they competed in.
Belmont coach Scott Flynn has maintained the mantra that the team should constantly be looking to get better and should build off the experiences of the fall season.
“The goal is to keep getting a little bit better each day,” said Flynn. “There are no shortcuts in golf.”
Leading the way for Belmont this season will be senior Ted Moon and juniors Ashton Van Horne and Scott Barnhart. Van Horne set a school record last year with 7 top-10 finishes and also had a solo tournament win in the APSU Intercollegiate tournament.
Moon had what he described as a disappointing season in the spring of 2014, but still finished third on the team in average scoring and finished fourth overall in the OVC Championship at the end of the season. Moon dedicated his offseason to improving his overall game for this season.
“I’ve been working hard on my short game and putting,” said Moon. “I want to make sure I’m confident and I’m enjoying myself.”
The men’s team is almost entirely upperclassmen this season with two seniors and five juniors. Moon stresses that this high level of combined experience means everyone does their part to help the team.
“Everybody chips in and helps each other out,” said Moon.
Belmont’s spring schedule features several key tournaments including the TSU Big Blue Intercollegiate in Hermitage, Tenn. and the Pinehurst Intercollegiate, which takes place at the legendary Pinehurst golf course in Pinehurst, N.C.
“Every great player that has played competitive golf has competed at Pinehurst,” said Flynn. “The guys are really excited about that.”
Belmont begins their spring season with the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate tournament on Feb. 23-24 in Mobile, Ala.
Following one of the best fall seasons in program history, the women’s team is looking to carry that success into the spring season.
Belmont coach Lissa Bradford made a point to make sure the team practiced as much as possible in preparation for the season.
“We’ve probably practiced more in the last month than we did in all of last winter,” said Bradford. “I’m hoping that we got enough of a head start on this season that we’ll do better this year.”
Belmont will look for seniors Sydney Hudson and Evin Edens to provide leadership and consistent performance.
The team will also look towards freshmen Katie Story and Mallory Sullivan to make an impact.
“We share the same goal and we’re all improving together,” said Hudson. “We did very well this past fall and my expectation for the spring is that we’ll continue with that.”
Hudson and Edens are the only two upperclassmen for the women’s team this season. Hudson made it clear that despite the young age of the team, they are ready for what the season will bring.
“They are just really good girls and they don’t need much help from me,” said Hudson. “They inspire me, if anything.”
The spring schedule for Belmont includes several key tournaments including the UNF Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla. and the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate in Sevierville, Tenn. The UNF Invitational is the tournament Bradford is most looking forward to.
“It’s a really nice place to go because the members really embrace the event and support all the players,” said Bradford. “Being a freshman right out of the box, it’s always nice to have that.”
Belmont begins their spring season with the UNF Invitational on March 9-10 in Jacksonville, Fla.