By Lance Melching
The men’s golf team returned to its winning ways with a dominating performance in the EKU Spring Intercollegiate Friday and Saturday at Arlington Golf Course.The Colonels dominated the field of 15 schools, beating second-place Morehead State by 25 strokes and shooting 27 strokes under par as a team.
Junior Shaun McConnell led the Colonels by besting the other 89 golfers in the field with a 14-under-par, three-round score of 202.
Teammates Phil Hendrickson and Trey Bowling finished just behind McConnell in second and third with scores of 206 and 210, respectively.
Coach Pat Stephens said the team “just about won every piece of hardware there was to give out” and pointed out that Eastern’s second-team, which played as individuals, would have finished second in the tournament.
Stephens said he believes the team’s depth has provided a high level of competition between players and that has contributed to their success.
The coach was not surprised that McConnell, Hendrickson and Bowling claimed the top three spots.
“Those three guys have got experience with winning and they were in it until the very end,” Stephens said. “(McConnell’s) been playing well all year. He just put three solid rounds together.”
Stephens also said that the team’s accomplishment should not be diminished because it was the home course.
“Any tournament you go to, the host school will know the golf course better, but still you have to hit the shots,” Stephens said. “Our guys are confident and definitely have the ability to shoot that well anytime.”
The Colonels’ team score of 837 tied the program’s second best mark for a 54-hole event and McConnell’s three-round tally of 202 was only one stroke short of the program record for a 54-hole event.
With only one tournament remaining before the OVC Championship, the win was an important one for the Colonels.
“We played kind of spotty all spring and haven’t been able to finish a golf tournament,” Stephens said. “This is a great confidence booster for our team.”
The men’s team travels to Huntington, W.Va. this weekend for the Marshall Intercollegiate before traveling to Paducah for the OVC Championship April 22 – 24.
Stephens said he believes the team should be able to compete with the field this weekend, especially if they can execute.
He also likes their chances to repeat as OVC champions.
“The talent level in the OVC since I’ve been here for 10 years has greatly improved and there are several schools with fine golf teams,” Stephens said. “We’re going to have to show up and we’re going to have to play at our best to repeat, but it’s definitely something we can do.”
Women host invitational
The Arlington Golf Course will play host to its second tournament in as many weeks when Eastern’s women’s golf team hosts the EKU Spring Invitational Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
The women have only won the tournament once, in 1997, and a win would give them their second first-place finish of the year.
The field contains four OVC squads and an in-state rival.
The event will feature Austin Peay, Eastern Michigan, Evansville, Indiana State, Murray State, Oakland, Ohio, Tennessee Tech, Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, West Georgia and a squad of non-varsity players from Scandinavia.
Junior Melissa Rosloniec currently leads the team with an 80.4 stroke average and senior Aubree Moore is second with an 81.5 stroke average.
The invitational is the women’s last event of the spring before the OVC championship on April 16 – 18.
Reach Lance at firstname.lastname@example.org