• Lillie Burke

Golf teams tee off spring season

Women

The Belmont women’s golf program comes into the 2011 season looking to generate confidence. Belmont finished last season ranked No. 195 in the country, and hopes to improve that ranking this year.

“We are taking things one day at a time,” head coach Lissa Bradford said.  “Mental golf is a focus for us.”

The team has used the off-season to practice both physical and technical aspects of their game. In addition to strength workouts and cardio, the Bruins have also done putting and mirror work to help with their swings.

Belmont had two Top 5 finishes in the fall of 2010.  Individually, multiple golfers were on the cusp of cracking the Top 10 in last season’s tournaments. Junior Kelly Maguigan placed ninth at the Drake Creek Invitational.

The team’s only senior, Laura Dyson, is returning from injury and could offer some leadership to the young group.

“We don’t have a team captain,” Bradford said. “The girls look to each other for encouragement and support.”

The women’s team hosts the Belmont Invitational April 4-5 in Old Hickory, Tenn.

The tournament is the last competition before the conference tournament, and Bradford is hoping the tournament helps the Lady Bruins prepare for the postseason.

“It’s going to be really important for us to be ready,” Bradford said.

Men

The Belmont men’s golf team tees off  its 2011 season with the hope of taking strides and building off  the progress the program has made.  Most of these hopes, however, are entrusted to senior team captain Dan Smith.

Smith, who is from Bournemouth, England, finished the 2010 campaign with two Top 10 finishes, earning second place in the Murray State Invitational and helping the team to a second-place finish.

“We expect Dan to play good, consistent golf for us,” head coach Scott Flynn said.

Aside from achievements on the course, Smith was also named a Golf Coaches Association of America All-American Scholar.

“He is an example for us in the classroom and on the course,” Flynn said.

After graduating five seniors in 2010, the team is young, consisting of four freshmen and one sophomore, in addition to Smith.

Flynn has his staff ready to focus on helping the young players grow.

“With our young group we are really working on thinking the game,” Flynn said. “We want them to keep learning, understanding how to play Division I golf.”

But the preparation goes further than the mental side.

“Today’s golfers are athletes.  Our guys are in the gym working,” Flynn said.”The team’s next competition is March 7-8 at the Samford Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Ala.

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