Seton Hall is once again headed to the Big East Championship – this time, it’s the men’s golf team that is headed to Callawassie Island in South Carolina.
Last year, the men’s squad tied with Butler for sixth place out of nine teams. When the Tournament begins on April 30, Seton Hall coach Clay White hopes to guide his team to a Big East crown.
“We’re in a good spot, we’ve been playing pretty well as a team, but that doesn’t guarantee anything,” White said. “If we have that mentality, I feel like we’ll have a good chance.”
Mentality is the key issue that White wants to tackle. He does not want his players to build the tournament up in their heads; he believes that as long as they remain focused, they will perform well.
“My goal this week as a coach is just to try to keep the guys from doing too much,” White said. “That’s what has hurt us in the past, we just go down there and try to win it by playing too aggressively. In the end, you’d just like to be within striking distance.”
In trying to make sure the team remains calm, White has tried to keep all the players on their regular routines. He is treating the Big East Championship as just another tournament so the players do not feel too stressed out.
“I think at times, the team gets a little too excited and puts too much pressure on themselves,” White said. “Obviously it is the biggest tournament of the year, but we’re trying to do our normal stuff and make it a normal week.”
A calm mentality will be essential for the Pirates, as anything can happen in the Big East Championship. Seton Hall has seen first-hand the parity that this conference has; for example, the team defeated Georgetown at the Princeton Invitational in early April, but fell to the Hoyas at the Rutherford Intercollegiate just a week later.
“DePaul’s beat us, Marquette’s beat us, St. John’s has had some good rounds,” White said. “I feel like every team in the Big East has the capability to win it.”
While it may seem daunting to go into a tournament where anything can happen, White is excited to see how his team performs.
“It’s exciting to go in and know that if we play like we’ve played all year, we can be there at the end,” White said.
Fortunately for Seton Hall, Lloyd Jefferson Go will be making the trip to Callawassie Island once again. At last year’s Big East Championship, Go had the best individual performance with a six-under-par, 210. His seven-under par, 65, in the second round set a course record and was the best single-round performance by a Pirate in Big East Championship history.
“I’ve been there three years now, and it’s really nice to go back to the same place for the fourth time in a row,” Go said. “I just asked the [women’s golf team] how it is, and they said it’s in perfect shape, so I’m excited to go down there.”
All eyes are on Go at this year’s event, but the senior is doing all that he can to avoid any pressure.
“I’m trying not to think about the pressure, and just focus on the moment,” Go said. “I’ve prepared enough already, so hopefully that preparation will be good enough to repeat.”
Matt Lapolla can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MatthewLapolla.