The Golden Eagle men’s golf team will kick off their last season this Monday.
The team will compete in the National Association of College Athletics Contender in four days. The Contender serves as the opening tournament for the Golden Eagles’ final season before their dissolution at the end of the school year. The University announced the official dissolution of the program on Feb. 22, marking the end of a nine-year reboot of the program.
Robert Raborn, senior golfer, expressed that this announcement has motivated him and his teammates to play their absolute best.
“We want to send the program off on a high note,” Raborn said. “We are hungry and want to win.”
The Golden Eagles improved from last fall season by placing in the top half of two of the three tournaments they competed in. The team didn’t place in the upper half of any tournament in the 2014 fall season. Trevor Barton, senior golfer, expressed pride in how the team performed in the fall.
“There were some good tournaments where we all put together good scores and shot a really good team score, which is something we haven’t been able to do in the past,” Barton said. “It’s hard to put four good scorers together, so that was something from last fall that was good.”
Since then, the team has been practicing when they can for their farewell season. Thatcher Radler, sophomore golfer, said that the team has been practicing on their own time to condition for their upcoming tournaments.
“It hasn’t been as scheduled now because it’s been the offseason,” Radler said. “We typically practice two or three times a week as a team and then we have workouts during the evenings.”
The team is looking to continue their success in their upcoming tournament. Raborn pointed out that although winning a tournament will take at least four Golden Eagles performing their best, he is confident in his team’s ability to perform at such a level.
“We have a solid core group of guys that could win just about any tournament if we play our best,” Robert Raborn, senior, said. “We have to stay patient and just keep plugging along when things aren’t going our way.”
Due to the individualistic nature of the sport, Radler mentioned that the way the Golden Eagles will win the tournament is by competing with their own team members. He also pointed out that the team will succeed if each player tries to best themselves at the game.
“That’s how you play as a team,” Radler said. “You’re playing yourself out there. Even if your opponent is kicking your butt, you’re still playing yourself and trying to beat yourself.”
The team hopes to start their final season off with success at the Contender.
“We expect to do our best just getting out there and having fun playing golf,” Raborn said.
The NAIA Contender will take place on March 7-8 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas.