Daily Egyptian

Men’s golf places third in season opener

By Tyler Davis

With a finish of third out of 15, the SIU men’s golf team started the 2014 campaign on a high note considering the team was practicing indoors for most of the off-season.

The finish may come as a surprise to some, as the team has not been able to practice outside because of low temperatures and ice on the golf course.

Newton said last week he was optimistic but cautious about his team going into the tournament. He said the team has been working hard, but this was the first season in his experience they were not able to practice outside before their first match.

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“We’re not going to embarrass ourselves,” Newton said. “But this is going to be the first tournament I think we’ve ever played without getting to practice or a qualifying round. So there might be a little bit of rust.”

The team played at the Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate, which was hosted by Jackson State University and held at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club in Choctaw, Miss.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis won the tournament posting a team score of 14-over-par. They were followed by the University of Tennessee-Martin, which came in at 27-over. SIU trailed UMSL by 22 strokes, finishing at 36-over.

Along with the high finish as a team, SIU had three golfers place in the top 20 out of 84 players. Only UMSL had more top 20 finishers, with six.

Senior Caleb Harms and sophomore Drew Novara tied for second with a score of 2-over-par, and senior Wade Thompson finished in 13th place with a score of 13-over. Harms and Novara trailed the leader, Juan Pablo Segurola, of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, by just one stroke.

Harms said he felt good even though he was a bit rusty from the lack of time on the course.

“(Sunday) I was pretty rusty on the green, which I expected to be,” Harms said. “But I kind of figured it out late in the round and that kind of carried over into today.”

Harms posted scores of 77 Sunday and 69 Monday in his two rounds.

Novara also said he experienced some rust, especially in his chipping. Novara was tied for first after posting a 70 Sunday. He ended with a 76 Monday.

“(Monday) I wasn’t quite as accurate with the irons,” Novara said. “I had to chip a little bit more and I think my chipping probably ended up costing me a W probably cost the team a few shots.”

Newton said he was happy with the team’s performance considering its lack of practice time. He also singled out Thompson’s performance, as he finished with an 8-over even though he had a 12 on one hole.

“You talk about bad luck,” Newton said. “He shot 76 and he had a 12 on one hole. He grinded it out pretty good.”

Newton said he was happy to get back to Carbondale and hopefully be outside for practice this week.

“We’re ready to play outside on the golf course and get ready for the next tournament,” he said. “If there’s any way that we can be outside, we’ll be outside whether it’s just chipping or hitting some balls.”

The Salukis will hit the links next at the Samford Intercollegiate tournament March 3 at the Hoover Golf Club in Hoover, Ala.

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