UNF golf team wraps up season

Spinnaker

The UNF golf team wrapped up the season with a 13th place finish at the National Collegiate Athletics Association South Central-Colorado regional tournament May 19-21 at the Colorado National Golf Club in Erie. 

This was UNF’s second straight appearance in an NCAA regional and its third in four years. It faced stiff competition with the likes of Oklahoma State, Georgia, Colorado State and Auburn participating.

“Golf is a sport where some people play well in certain regions,” said head coach Scott Schroeder. “We have all Florida kids on the roster, so we’re going to be a little better in the Southeast.”

Schroeder said he’s happy with the team’s form going into the tournament.

“In the month of golf between conference and regionals, the guys were playing really well,” he said.

While the team had momentum on which to build, this success didn’t translate on the course.  The team finished 13th, shooting a combined 893 (+29), failing to make it to the finals.

Injuries and weather were both key factors in the team’s result, though. The team played in 40-degree temperatures with strong winds and rain.

“When you lose your second-best player, and you have to put in your sixth or seventh best player, there’s a pretty good drop-off,” Schroeder said.

Sophomore Kevin Phelan was also unable to play due to injury.

“He played with a hurt back [in a previous tournament],” Schroeder said. “It turns out he had a herniated disk.”

Oklahoma State ran away with the field finishing with an 833 (-31) — 18 shots ahead of second place Colorado State. Northwestern clinched the final qualifying spot finishing thrid with an 855 (-9).

After a slow first day where the team shot a 307 (+19), the Ospreys recovered to finish with +10 over the final two days.

“The last two days were closer to what you would expect in five Florida kids playing in Colorado,” Schroeder said. “The grass itself and the way the ball bounces is different.”

The players looked to themselves for reasons why the team finished as it did.

UNF junior Joe Byun said he felt confident going into the tournament. He was one of the team’s best performers, finishing with a score of +5 on the week. This put him at a tie for 50th and with Chris Kenney for the team’s best.

Byun said his weakness was his putting.

“I am not happy, but I am also not too disappointed,” he said. “I know what I need to work on now. Our team tried our best, and it just was not good enough. We had a hectic week.”

After shooting a first round 78 (+6), Aylwin said he lost some confidence when he realized he wasn’t hitting as well as he had been.

The team, however, has a lot to look forward to over the summer, and Schroeder is looking at the positives going into next year.

“We have our second best player [Aylwin] and our third best player [Byun] coming back,” he said, “as well as two or three good recruits. We have a good nucleus.”