The Bruins golf teams are back in full swing as they enter their spring season.
The women’s golf team hosted the Bruins Spring Invitational Tournament on Feb. 22 at the Rock Golf Club in Pickens, South Carolina, while the men’s team opened their season on Feb. 24 at the Columbia International University Spring Invitational in Columbia.
The men’s team entered the spring season hoping to rebound from a difficult fall, where they placed in the top three at only one event. The team is smaller this season, having lost two players at the end of first semester. The six remaining players will compete in five tournaments across Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina.
Isaac Childreys, a sophomore child growth and development major, said that since the spring season does not involve a post-season competition like regional or national championships, the team is using this season to rebuild and get experience for the national tournament in the fall.
“We have a couple freshmen on the team, so having them compete in tournaments like this is really good for experience and confidence,” Childreys said. “We want to have fun and build so that we can hopefully compete next season for a national championship and put another banner on the wall.”
Coach Dennis Scott said the colder weather often makes it challenging to post scores similar to those that the team shoots in the fall season. “Even with those conditions, we still have some competitive goals to reach and continually strive to improve with each tournament,” Scott said. “I want the spring season to be motivational going into the summer off-season so the team members will come back in the fall at peak performance levels.”
The women’s team comes into the spring season after a historic fall season, with sophomore Kate Matthews, a business administration major, becoming the first female golfer from BJU to compete at the NCCAA National Tournament. She then became the first female golfer in BJU program history to earn All-American honors as she finished fifth overall at the tournament.
The team now hopes to carry the momentum of Matthew’s successes into this season, as the team competes in four tournaments—one in South Carolina, one in Alabama and two in Georgia.
Coach Scott said the women’s team has the strongest spring season schedule they have ever had. “They will need to rise to the challenge and keep a strong focus on improving with each round regardless of where we stack up against other teams,” he said.
Rachel Brown, a sophomore nursing major, said the women’s team has been working hard to improve and develop its game in order to prepare for the fall season. “I’m personally hoping this season I’ll be able to shoot my lowest score in a tournament,” Brown said.
In the first tournament of the season, the Bruins Spring Invitational, the team finished in third place overall. On the individual leaderboard, Matthews finished second overall, only two strokes off the tournament winner.
Both the men’s and the women’s teams competed in the Faulkner University Invitational on March 2 and 3 for the first time in program history. The tournament was held at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, the largest golf construction project ever attempted, consisting of a collection of 26 golf courses at 11 different sites across Alabama.
The Alabama golf course is named for its architect, Robert Trent Jones, who constructed or reconstructed 400 golf courses across the U.S. and in 35 countries around the world. More than three dozen of Jones’ courses have been used in national and international tournaments.