Feb. 7, 2014
ATHENS, Ohio – While the rest of the Southeast Ohio community is shoveling out of a perpetual polar vortex, the Ohio University men’s golf team will be heading South to build the foundation for a successful 2014 spring season.
Fresh off a solid fall campaign, the Bobcats are eager to get back on the tee box. The Green & White begin their spring schedule in the Orlando area for a match play duel with Bowling Green on Saturday (Feb. 8).
From there, the ‘Cats head to Lake Jovita, Fla., for the Mid-American Match Play (Feb. 10-11), a three-round competition that features eight Mid-American Conference programs. Ohio wraps up match play with a duel vs. DePaul on Feb. 15.
For the Bobcats, the early match play format allows the student-athletes to warm up for the stroke play events that follow.
“Coming out of winter you’re a little bit rusty, so match play gives you a bit of a cushion,” senior Phil Gieseker (Saline, Mich.) said. “You can make a big number and it doesn’t hurt the team, you just lose a hole. So it’s nice. You can tinker with some things and figure some stuff out.”
Freshman Ty Herriott (Brandywine, Md.) – who competed in two tournaments in the fall – also enjoys the competitive and somewhat forgiving nature of the early schedule. “I’ve played some of my best golf in match play,” Herriott said. “I love the format. If you lose a hole, you just move on to the next one.”
After the February swing through Florida, the Bobcats begin stroke play at the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate in Hilton Head, S.C. (Feb. 17-18). From there, Ohio returns to Athens for a month before returning to action March 19-21 at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate in Pinehurst, N.C.
For Huntersville, N.C. native Peyton White (Huntersville, N.C.), it’s an opportunity to enjoy some home course advantage to an extent.
“It’s cool being able to almost go home,” White said. “I’ve played those courses a number of times and it’s basically my backyard. It’s going to be nice being on my home turf.”
White enjoyed a standout fall campaign, as the freshman garnered two MAC Golfer of the Week honors while posting three top-15 finishes in four starts. He currently ranks second in the conference in stroke average (72.58).
After Pinehurst, Ohio will compete at the NYX Hoosier Invitational in Bloomington, Ind. (April 12-13), where the ‘Cats will aim to improve upon an impressive fifth-place finish in 2013.
From there, the Bobcats head to Glenview, Ill., for a berth in the Kemper Intercollegiate before wrapping up the regular season April 21-22 at the Ball State Invitational in Muncie, Ind.
For Gieseker, who finished the fall with a 15th place finish at the Cobra-Puma Invitational, the regular season stroke play tournaments are all about preparing the team to play its best golf at the most critical time.
“Obviously we want to win and we all want to get better and make sure we progress,” Gieseker said. “Come MACs, we want to be peaking and be able to compete for a MAC Championship.”
The 2014 MAC Championships will send the Bobcats to Carmel, Ind., where the tournament will be held at Prairie View Golf Club.
In addition to Gieseker, Herriot and White, Ohio will also rely heavily on junior Andrew Mlynarski (St. Michaels, Md.) during the spring season. Mlynarski was a beacon of consistency, with three top-40 finishes in four starts during the fall. His best finish came at the Marshall Invitational (215/+2, t-17th).
Senior Bradley Lucas (Worthington, Ohio) made all four starts for the ‘Cats in the fall and also will be a regular in the Green & White lineup during the spring. Senior Connor Coldwater (Clarks Summit, Pa.), who battled injury during the fall, as well junior Thomas Leech (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and sophomore Brad Burgess (St. Catharines, Ontario) also will see action during the spring for the Bobcats.
Stay tuned to OhioBobcats.com for a full recap of Ohio’s Saturday duel vs. Bowling Green.