Men’s golf getting ‘excited’ for season opener

Go (Seton Hall Athletics)

The Seton Hall University men’s golf team will be leaving the snow in South Orange, N.J. behind for the southern sunshine when they open their spring season in Tampa, Fla. on Monday, Feb. 9.

The Pirates will be participating in the two-day MAC Match Play tournament, their first of the season. The match will mostly feature teams from the Mid-American Conference, including Ball State University, Bowling Green State University, Eastern Michigan University, Miami University (Ohio), Ohio University and the University of Toledo. Florida Atlantic University will also be participating. The match will be held at the Lake Jovita Country Club, a two-course property with over 280 acres to its name.

“We’re pretty excited,” said head coach Clay White. “We’re ready to get out of the snow and get on some grass… They are all super excited. We had practice today inside and all they are talking about is leaving Friday and getting down there and getting a little practice in before the tournament starts and being ready to go Monday.”

The Pirates are coming off of a successful fall season. The team finished in the top half of their field in all but one tournament they participated in and took home a first place finish at the Navy Fall Classic in Annapolis, Md.

White, who is in his 11th year at Seton Hall, mentioned that while he wants his team to improve as a unit, he is expecting senior JT Harper, junior Ryan Snouffer and sophomore Lloyd Jefferson Go to individually take steps forward.

One interesting aspect of White’s bunch is that there is not a single freshman on the team. Granted, Harper is the only senior, but with two sophomores and four juniors, the group is rather experienced. White is hopeful that their familiarity with each other and the game will pay dividends on the links.

“They know each other,” White said. “They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can help each other with those.”

While next year is still a ways away, the team will be invigorated with some youth when the 2015 fall season rolls around. It was announced in December that White had landed top-recruits Gen Nagai and Chris Yeon for the 2015-16 academic year.

As for this year, tee time for both Monday and Tuesday in Florida is set for 8:30 a.m. Despite not having much of a chance to play outside due to the New Jersey weather, White is not all that concerned about the other teams having a leg up on his in competition.

“The great thing about this tournament is a lot of the schools are from the north, except for Florida Atlantic,” White said. “Hopefully we’re all on the same playing field when it comes to preparation… Obviously we won’t be at mid-season form or anything like that. It’s just a matter of the guys having been working hard indoors with what we’ve been doing and taking it outdoors.”

The Pirates will be in Tampa for the weekend prior to the tournament and will have a chance to get a few practice rounds in before the event gets going early Monday morning.

Gary Phillips can be reached at gary.phillips@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.

Author: Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips is a journalism major at Seton Hall University where he serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Setonian. In addition, Phillips is also a columnist at FanRag Sports and a contributing writer for Jets Wire. He has also interned at CNBC and The Bergen Record and written for Bleacher Report and Double G Sports, in addition to freelance work. You can follow Phillips on Twitter @GaryHPhillips and see all of his work at https://garyphillips.journoportfolio.com/home-page/.

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