By Lane Fahey
The end of October finished up the fall season for the Furman men’s golf team. After playing in five different tournaments this season the Paladins ended on a strong note, placing seventh overall at the Camden Collegiate Invitational. The various tournaments have gone from the Tar Heel Intercollegiate in N.C. to the Jackrabbit in Valentine, Neb.
Sophomore Connor Bruns and senior Bryce Howell are the only two players to have started in all of the tournaments for fall. Last spring, Howell finished third overall in the Southern Conference Championship. Bruns also finished well in the championship, and was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team.
Howell tallied three top five finishes this season including going 11 under par in the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate. Bruns marked his first time going under in tournament play, in both the Firestone Invitational and the Tar Heel Invitational.
After losing three key seniors last year, the Dins have looked to freshmen to help bring the team to more victories and at least one freshman has played in each tournament this season. Allowing the freshmen to play in these tournaments will ultimately lead to more experience going into the spring season.
“We have a young team. I think they have a little bit better learning curve than we did. So it was only myself as a freshman who played in fall season last year. But we’ve had all four of the freshmen play this year already,” Bruns said.
Freshman Stephen Reynolds, who played in two tournaments this fall, knew that the freshmen class would have to step up this year.
“I think coming in all the freshmen knew that they had lost two of the really good players and so the spots were open and a couple of us were gonna need to step up. I think we’re still working on that. It definitely puts some pressure on because you know you have a chance to play,” Reynolds said.
With a mere four months in between fall and spring season, Furman looks to work hard in the winter, with the goal of a Southern Conference Championship in the future.
“We really want to build a team towards going to conference and then at conference, having the confidence that we have the potential to win it,” Bruns said.
As the Paladins prepare for the task of winning the SoCon this upcoming season, the team will need players to step up to push the team to its full potential. After an exceptional fall season Howell seems eager to be the player for the Paladins.
“Bryce is definitely the leader for sure. We had a team meeting after the season and he stepped up and said ‘this is what we’re doing wrong, this is where I’ve gone wrong, this is what y’all need to do.’ He says what needs to be said. He knows what he has to say and he doesn’t have a filter, he doesn’t try and sugar coat it or anything,” Reynolds said.
A mindset that the team will work on for the spring season is trying to simplify the game.
“A lot of us just think too much, or kinda tighten up so we’re trying to go out there and just have fun with it and play a lot of golf. Just be comfortable on the course. When we get out there we just have to loosen up and trust that we’ve done the work and we can do this. There’s no reason we can’t compete,” Reynolds said.
The Paladins will start the spring season in the John Hayt Intercollegiate at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Spring season will also include the Furman Intercollegiate from March 24 to March 26.