The Seton Hall University men's golf team will head to the Neville Kovacs Intercollegiate, Feb 22-24, in Goodyear, Ariz., looking to get their tournament-style play on par as the spring season enters full swing.
Seton Hall Athletics
This three-day event places the Pirates against opponents from all over the country. Teams from Missouri State University, Gonzaga University, DePaul University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), Loyola University, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Bradley University, University of Connecticut, and St. Johns University will be competing in this southwest showdown. The match will be held at the Palm Valley Golf Club.
Head coach Clay White plans for his team to be competitive in Arizona after coming off a nice performance in match play last week.
“I think we'll be alright,” White said. “Being in Florida last week for that match play should give us an advantage over teams who will be playing outside for their first time.”
Being a golf team from the northeast can serve as a disadvantage in terms of performing at high level on a consistent basis. Hitting a ball off of a mat inside and striking a ball off of grass bringing the conditions into play are two completely different scenarios. White is aware of that difference, but believes his team is fit to succeed regardless.
“As a whole we've worked very hard this winter,” White said. “From hitting off the mat to hitting off the green, there’s a difference that comes into play. But we've done a good job at using our training facilities to get ready for the tournament.”
The Neville Kovacs represents the first time the Pirates will be taking place in tournament-style play this spring. This provides the Hall an opportunity to play a little more cautious in terms of their shot selection, as opposed to the hole by hole competitive nature of match play.
“Match play equals taking more risk,” White said. “Your opponent dictates what shot you may take. In stroke play you ma decide to take a bogey as opposed to saving par, just to avoid hitting a triple-bogey which is nearly impossible to recover from. In match play it's all about winning the hole, in tournament-style every shot counts.”
With the style of stroke play as the objective in this upcoming tournament White has a simple objective for each one of his players, just to hit their shots.
“The guys just need to focus on hitting their shot as well as they can,” said White. “If they focus on that we'll be fine. If we manage our numbers and shoot scores under 74 or 75 I think we'll be OK.”
White mentioned how some of his players have been performing well leading up to this tournament, mainly speaking towards junior Ryan Snouffer and sophomore Kevin O'Brien. Junior David Cha will represent the Pirates this weekend as their fifth player in the tournament.
The key to success in Arizona is fairly simple in White's eyes.
“If two or three of our guys shoot under par with everyone else not shooting very high,” said White. “And just make sure our guys go out there managing their numbers we'll be ok.”
The Pirates will spend these three days in Arizona before they look towards their next batch of competitive play a month from now, Mar 28-29, at the Whiting-Turner Towson Invitational.