Golf team ends season in Fort Smith

This Monday, the men’s golf team will travel to Fort Smith, Ark. to play their program’s final regular season games.

John Brown University’s men’s golf team will compete in the Hardscrabble Invitational, hosted by University of Arkansas Fort Smith. It is the Golden Eagles’ first-ever experience playing in the tournament.

“It is difficult to know who will be there and who the better teams will be,” Robert Raborn, senior, said. “University of Arkansas Fort Smith is a Division II school, so we do expect some tough competition with playing against larger schools. Nevertheless, we are up for the challenge.”

The golf course itself also serves as a test for the Golden Eagles. Raborn mentioned that the course has hosted professional events in the past, which reflects the challenging nature of the course. Thatcher Radler, sophomore, agreed with Raborn’s notion.

“It’s a tough golf course,” Radler said. “We had a bunch of matches there when I played in high school.”

On this challenging course, the Golden Eagles hope to gain positive results in the club’s final season of existence. Radler pointed out that the Hardscrabble is larger than the other tournaments the Golden Eagles have competed in.

“This is our first really big tournament,” Radler said. “This is kind of how we’ll feel going into the championships.”

The Sooner Athletic Conference Championships will take place in Fort Worth, Texas six days after Hardscrabble. Because of its place in the season, Hardscrabble is strategic in cultivating positive momentum going into their championship playoffs, as Raborn said.

“This will be the last tournament we play in before our conference tournament,” he said. “It will be our last opportunity to test our games under the heat of competition. It will either give a lot of confidence going into conference or it will reveal to us what we need to improve on going into the most important tournament of the year. Hardscrabble is crucial for us.”

This tournament also serves as an opportunity for the Golden Eagles to turn their spring season around as a whole. Since the beginning of 2016, the Golden Eagles have not placed in the top half of any tournament they have competed in, according to JBU Athletics. However, Radler attested to his confidence in the team going into this match, especially in junior Trevor Barton.

“Trevor has been playing great,” Radler said. “He kind of had a slow start this year, but Trevor has really pulled his weight and has started to hit the ball really well.”

The team’s confidence, coupled with the challenging nature of both the course and the tournament and the time of the season, will all come together on Monday. The Golden Eagles hope to rise to the occasion through both a disciplined approach and enjoying the game they love in their last season of existence.

“We are going to try to really buckle down on this one,” Raborn said. “But of course the most important thing for us to do is have fun and just enjoy getting to play the game we love. That is how we will be the most successful.”