UNCG hits the links for second time this week at Irish Creek Intercollegiate
UNCG at the Irish Creek Intercollegiate (hosted by Charlotte and Davidson), April 9-10, The Club at Irish Creek, Kannapolis, N.C.
By Rob Daniels
UNCG will participate in its second tournament of the week when it faces seven top-100 teams in a group of 12 competitors in the Irish Creek Collegiate, hosted by Charlotte, Davidson and the Charlotte Regional Sports Commission at The Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, N.C.
The Spartans are coming off a ninth-place finish out of 15 clubs in the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate in Madison, Miss., from which they returned on Tuesday night.
The Spartans are familiar with the field, having played nine of the other 12 teams at some point in 2010-11. Overall, they're 9-9 in head-to-head results; that includes a highly respectable 5-7 mark against squads currently ranked ahead of them in the golfstat.com national ratings. UNCG, No. 85 nationally, is 2-1 against No. 43 Middle Tennessee State; 1-0 against No. 61 Coastal Carolina; 1-1 vs. No. 68 North Carolina; 1-3 against No. 59 Charlotte; and 0-1 against No. 28 Wake Forest and No. 17 Duke. Other repeat customers in the Irish Creek field are No. 106 Mercer (1-0); No. 122 VCU (2-2); and No. 227 Francis Marion (1-0).
UNCG will see a Southern Conference team for the first time this spring when Davidson provides opposition at Irish Creek. The Spartans defeated the College of Charleston and Georgia Southern in head-to-head meetings in fall tournaments.
WEATHER-WORN: The Spartans hope for better weather in Kannapolis than they saw in the Delta. The BancorpSouth event, originally scheduled for 54 holes, was trimmed to 36 when tornadoes hit the region on Monday. Although funnel clouds were not reported in the immediate vicinity of the Reunion Golf and Country Club, at least one touched down in an adjacent county, compelling authorities to empower search-and-rescue teams. UNCG fell from fifth after 18 holes to a tie for ninth in the final standings but did get its best on-paper win of the spring when it defeated Vanderbilt, which entered play at No. 72 nationally. (The Commodores have since dropped to No. 80).
THE SHORT OF IT: UNCG has placed in the top 20 in short-game statistics six times in coach Terrance Stewart's tenure. Those rankings represent an amalgamation of several elements of play in and around the green, including sand-save success rate, putts per round and others.
MAJOR VENUES: Three times in 2010-11, the Spartans have played at a complex that has hosted PGA Tour or major championships in the past decade. UNCG's own Bridgestone event, a fall tournament, is set at Forest Oaks Country Club, the home of Greensboro's PGA Tour event from 1977-2007. Last month, the Spartans played Pinehurst No. 6, part of the golf metropolis that counts Pinehurst No. 2 as its most celebrated facility. That course hosted the U.S. Open in 1999 and 2005 and will do so again in 2014. Shortly thereafter, they finished fourth in a 24-team field on the Woods Course at Kingsmill, the development best known for the River Course, which served as home for a PGA Tour event from 1981-2002. That tourney, the C&F Bank Intercollegiate, was hosted by The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
NEW No. 1: Less than a month after taking to Pinehurst No. 6 as the Spartans' No. 5 player, junior Colin Chapman has moved to the top of the team ladder. In the past two events, Chapman has tied for 20th and for fifth and has broken par in three of four rounds. The fifth-place performance in Mississippi represents the second-highest standing by a Spartan in any event in 2010-11; it is eclipsed only by Robert Hoadley's second-place effort at the VCU Shootout in the fall. Chapman, who transferred to UNCG from Oglethorpe (Ga.) College after his first year of school, put together consecutive under-par rounds for the first time in his two-year Spartan career when he shot a 71 and a 70 in Mississippi.
COMEBACK KID: Kyle Sonday, who redshirted in 2009-10 and didn't make his first appearance this academic year until the final event of the fall, has shot 75 or better in nine of his 10 rounds.
DEPTH: Four UNCG players have broken par in consecutive rounds of the same tournament in 2010-11. They are Hoadley, who did it in all three rounds at VCU; Chapman (both rounds at the BancorpSouth); Will Almand (second and third at the UNCG Bridgestone); and Andy Knox (first two at the UNCG Bridgestone).
ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER: Hoadley led UNCG in six of its first eight tournaments in 2010-11 and finished among the top 20 individuals in five of those events. Hoadley's best effort this spring is a final-round 67 in the Pinehurst Intercollegiate. That score tied his career low and helped move the Spartans up two spots in the team standings from seventh to their final placement of fifth.
HOADLEY A SULLIVAN SEMIFINALIST: UNCG sophomore Robert Hoadley, an All-Southern Conference player as a freshman, was one of 12 semifinalists named in February for the prestigious Sullivan Award, commonly known as the Oscar of amateur athletics. The Amateur Athletics Union presents the prize to the person who best embodies the spirit of healthy competition, citizenship and other traits. Hoadley was nominated by the chief administrative officer of AAU golf events for his combination of achievement on the course, in the community and in the classroom, where he maintains Dean's List membership in the university's Bryan School of Business and Economics. Hoadley did not make the cut to finalist stage, but he did finish sixth out of 12 in online voting administered by USA Today. The AAU does not disclose the extent of the popular vote's role in the process. The ballot included Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton of Auburn; basketball players Maya Moore of Connecticut and Jimmer Fredette of BYU; and Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek, the eventual winner. Lysacek also has UNCG ties. One of his cousins, Ari Lysacek, is a member of the Spartan volleyball team.
ALUMNI UPDATE: Former UNCG golfers Will Bowman and Ryan Heisey helped the amateur team split the 17th Tar Heel Cup matches with a group of PGA of America teaching professions last week.
The amateurs, who have won only the Cup only twice, earned a draw for the second straight year in the two-day event at the par-71, 6,900-yard Dormie Club in West End, N.C.
With his team down 2.5 points with three matches pending, Bowman began a late surge by winning the 18th hole of his singles contest against Corey Schneider, a result that halved the contest. Earlier, Bowman and Heisey had halved their four-ball match with Paul Dickens and Mike Cato.
Bowman enjoyed an excellent spring in his senior season in 2010, posting a career-low 66 in one round and qualifying for the U.S. Amateur in a subsequent competition as an individual.
Heisey, another 2010 graduate, won the 50th North Carolina Amateur last June, breaking the event's 72-hole record in the process.
CONSISTENCY: UNCG has been among the top five SoCon teams in the final Sagarin ratings in each of the past five years. Only Chattanooga has equaled that feat.
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