MSJ Men’s Golf Team Sets the Bar High

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Wes Atchison

File Under: athletics, mens golf

The Mount’s men’s golf team kicked off their season at the Taylor Made/Adidas Intercollegiate in Dataw Island, SC, last week.

The Lions placed 10th in a stacked field with a three-day scoring total of 961. Taking first in the tournament, fifth in the national rankings, was Guilford College with a 909 total. Three out of the top 10 Division III men’s golf programs in the nation competed in this tournament, according to golfstat.com’s ranking.

Low man for the Lion’s top 5 was Mathew Stiens, who fired a solid three-day total of 233 and was tied 22nd for the tournament. Playing as an individual, Eric Hensler shot a three-round total of 231 and took a tied 18th finish.

Lions coach Joe Sparhawk thought that the tournament was only a starting point for the bright future of his team this season.

“It was a great field and we played through tough conditions,” he said. “What we’re going to have to take away from this tournament is that we need to be mentally tough and grind through the rounds. A score of 75 or better is now the new goal, and we need to continue to play through the tough conditions.”

The Lions have been competing at this tournament each year for the past three seasons. Sparhawk revealed that this weekend his team shot their best round in their tournament history with this course, as well as their worst round.

During the fall season the Lions won two tournaments and were ranked second in the nation for a period of time on golfstat.com. To start the spring season they will look to build off this momentum and continue with their breakout season. 

Sparhawk attributes the Lions’ season to a work ethic he had not seen in them before. He said that the Lions’ confidence level at the beginning of the season was at an all-time high and that they have their eyes and minds set on one goal; a first ever conference title.

The Lions will look to defend their home course, Aston Oaks Golf Club, as teams from across the country come to play in their home tournament. The field is set to have 13 teams, including the Lions’ conference rival Transylvania University, who will be looking to even the score with the Mount. The Mount has a 1-0 record against the rival team this year.

Sparhawk says that there is a lot of hard work in store for his team, but he motivates them by saying, “Why not us? Why can’t we win the conference? Why can’t we win the National Championship? Who will stop us?”