The Wildman is on the road kiddies, and the rental car mileage is adding up. First, I stopped off in the 8-5-0 (Tallahassee) for the Seminole Intercollegiate. After the final putt dropped Sunday I drove through every back road the state of Georgia has to offer to get to Augusta.
I am now in Augusta for the Lady Jaguar, but first want to give you my take from the Seminole Intercollegiate.
Arkansas keeps rolling
After starting the spring with an eighth-place finish at the Battle at the Beach, Arkansas has now won back-to-back tournaments. Two weeks ago it was the Hogs winning the John Hayt, and now they leave Florida once again as champs – winning the Seminole Intercollegiate. Leading the way for Brad McMakin’s squad was co-medalist Sebastian Cappelen, who shot 5 under for the tournament. The three-stroke victory for Arkansas was their third of the year and will give the Razorbacks momentum as they head toward the SEC’s.
“Whoooo” are these Owls?
Coming in second place at the Seminole Intercollegiate was the 72nd-ranked Kennesaw State Owls. The Owls have quietly won four tournaments on the year and this runner-up finish is nothing to be ashamed of. Jay Moseley’s team picked up some quality head-to-head wins over FSU, North Texas, Houston and Charlotte. The Owls improved their score each and every day.
With a three day total of 847 (290-281-276), Kennesaw State tried to sneak out a victory, but came up just three shots short of Arkansas. Four of the team’s five players finished inside the top 25, including co-medalist Jeff Karlsson. Teams across the country should take notice of the Owls, because they are a team that may just sneak out a top finish at an NCAA regional and advance to Karsten Creek this summer.
First-year USF head coach Chris Malloy was probably hoping for a sweeter homecoming to Tallahassee then the 15th-place finish his guys provided him with. Malloy was extremely well-liked in Tallahassee where he served as the assistant men’s golf coach at FSU for 4 years. His first year at the helm for USF has been a difficult one for a coach who was so used to winning. This year, the Bulls have yet to place in the top five of a stroke play tournament and their best finishes this year have been a pair of sixth place finishes, which occurred in the fall.
Malloy is excited about the challenge he faces of turning the USF program around, but says he expects to be competing for conference titles in a year or two. Next up for Malloy’s Bulls will be the FAU Spring Break Championship in two weeks.
Another ACC .500 watch
A ninth-place finish at the Seminole Intercollegiate neither helped nor hurt the North Carolina Tar Heels. Entering the tournament, UNC was ranked No. 68 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, and had an overall record of 28-22. At this tournament they picked up nine wins and eight losses.
The positive to take away for UNC is that they kept their record above .500, but the negative would be some of the teams they lost to. Kennesaw State, Houston, Troy and Mississippi State are all ranked below the Tar Heels and the schedule for UNC does not get any easier. To close out the spring UNC will play at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational, Hootie at Bulls Bay Collegiate, Irish Creek Collegiate and Wolfpack Intercollegiate before playing in the ACC Championship. UNC is in the clear right now, but they are going to need some strong finishes down the stretch if they hope on being a lock for a regional with an above .500 winning percentage.
All they want is a chance
After speaking with several coaches at the Seminole Intercollegiate, I found out that many were excited just to have the opportunity to face teams like Arkansas, FSU and North Texas. All these teams want is a chance and they got it. Arkansas may have won the tournament, but for a team like Kennesaw State to defeat teams like FSU and UNT is huge.
Also, even teams that finished in the middle of the leaderboard picked up head-to-head wins they can boast about. Take Cincinnati for instance, the 178th-ranked team in the country. They finished 11th, but were able to finish above James Madison, Jacksonville, and Nicholls State – all teams that were ranked ahead of them. Just because some teams didn’t leave Tallahassee with a trophy, doesn’t mean they all left empty-handed. Teams want a chance to face the big boys, but sometimes it’s the battles with smaller programs that can help you build success for the future.