By Trent McCann
Historically, Furman’s golf program is one of the most decorated in Southern Conference history. The men’s and women’s teams also have strong national reputations.
The men’s team leads all current members in SoCon titles, and the women’s team has completely dominated the conference dating back to the 1970s, as well as producing a lot of professional level talent.
The consistency and high level of performance of both teams has brought national attention to Furman throughout the golf world. The young 2012 season has been a different story completely, however.
Both teams have struggled uncharacteristically early on in this season. Anyone who’s golfed before knows how frustrating it can be when you’re playing below your own ability.
The Lady Paladins opened their season early last week with a trip to the coast to take part in the 2012 Cougar Classic hosted by the College of Charleston, where the team finished twenty-third out of the 24 schools competing.
In Charleston, the squad was lead by senior Laura Wearn, whose combined score of 219 strokes was good enough to tie for thirtieth place amongst individuals in the competition.
The women’s team being represented in Charleston is a very young one. Currently, the team carries two freshmen, one sophomore, one junior and one senior. In her first collegiate competition, freshman Stephanie Carlozzi shot a 232, good enough for second place on the team. Fellow freshman Valentina Romero, who hails from Colombia, shot a 159, but only competed in two of the three rounds. Hopefully, these two rookie Paladins can find their groove as the season progresses to return Furman to women’s golf dominance.
The men’s team has also opened their season with disappointing performances.
The season started on Sept. 10 in Florence, S.C. at the Raines Development Group Intercollegiate, hosted by Francis Marion University. The ‘Dins managed to start the season with team combined total of 878 strokes, good enough for tenth place out of 16 teams.
Unfortunately, the team took a large step back in their second tournament of the season hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where we finished in last place. The team is lead by a solid group of five seniors, but is also laden with newcomers.
There’s a hope that the experience of the upperclassmen will rub off on the freshmen who are new to collegiate athletics. Next week the team travels to the Cardinal Intercollegiate at the University of Louisville.
There’s a long season ahead with a lot of golf still to be played, as the Paladins try to gain valuable experience before starting the all-important Southern Conference play.