The men’s golf team returned home last week from a trip to Duluth, Georgia, after finishing tied for ninth in the Autotrader Collegiate, hosted by Georgia State University. They now set their sights on the last match before a three month respite at their home course in the UNCG Grandover Collegiate on Oct. 28-29. In a sit down with interview with Spartans Head Golf Coach Terrance Stewart, coach discussed the season to date and expectations going into the respite and the spring season.
While the Spartans have finished anywhere from eight to tenth place in the previous four tournaments this season, Stewart sees a bright future for this year’s squad. Coaches and players alike expect higher finishes, but they have fared very well against other teams from the Southern Conference.
“Stacked up against the conference, I think we’re currently ranked second in scoring average, so they’re certainly very competitive there. I really see a lot of great things and I really do expect to see them have some really good finishes” said Stewart.
Coach Stewart also mentioned a few players who have been bright spots so far for the Spartans. Junior Bryce Hendrix has stood out as one of the most outstanding and consistent golfers early on.
“Bryce is definitely one of the leading contenders so far to be the Conference Player of the Year” said Stewart. Hendrix is not the only player to standout, as Stewart continued “we’ve got a Freshman, Nick Lyerly who will definitely compete to be Freshman of the Year. We’ve had four of the last five Freshman of the year in the conference.”
A quartet of golfers have started in every match for UNCG including Bryce Hendrix, Nick Lyerly, Jonathan Brightwell and Josh Stockwell. The Spartans also received a contribution from senior Joseph Cansler, who is back in the starting lineup and played well in Tar Heel Intercollegiate in Chapel Hill during the first weekend of the month, finishing with a 3 under for the tournament. Cansler will join the aforementioned quartet as the starters for the upcoming match at Grandover. While the Spartans rely heavily on the starters, Coach Stewart likes the depth of this team.
“A good thing is that nine of the 10 guys on the roster have all been able to play some tournaments this year, so they have all gained some really good and valuable experience” said Stewart.
Hopefully playing on their home course will prove helpful for the Spartans as they look towards the upcoming tournament at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. According to Stewart, and probably anyone who has ever played there, it is an excellent duo of golf courses.
“Grandover Resort is awesome, they go and treat us like kings. We could not ask for a better place to call our home” said Stewart. For those locals who have been lucky enough to play either the East or West courses, it would be hard to argue with him. While both courses are kept in pristine condition, the East course is particularly daunting. “It’s a beast. It is very difficult, but it is a great golf course” added Stewart.
While the program hopes for good results at Grandover, signs seem to be pointing up for UNCG Golf. Coach Stewart seems to like the tight knit group of guys currently on the roster and how they can balance competition between each other with offering support for each other at the same time.
“They are all very good friends. The fact that the entire team comes out of the state of North Carolina, these guys have grown up playing junior golf together, the parents all know each other, the kids have known each other for years but they are very supportive of each other, but then on the flip side they’re also trying to just beat the absolute heck out of their buddies” said Stewart.
Hopefully the Spartans can use their home field advantage, and competitiveness as a springboard into the second half of the season.