During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the 2014 spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Southern Conference:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: UNC Greensboro
• Player to watch: J.T. Poston, Western Carolina. Poston might play for the lowets-ranked team in the SoCon, but he’s also ranked 16th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
• Freshman to watch: Carter Jenkins, UNC Greensboro. Ranked 114th by Golfweek, Jenkins is one of the most important players on the conference’s highest-ranked team.
• Conference championship: April 20-22, National GC, Pinehurst, N.C.
• Past champions (since 2009): Chattanooga (2012-13), Georgia Southern (2011), Furman (2010), Chattanooga (2009)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- UNC Greensboro (63): A runner-up finish at the Wolfpack Intercollegiate and a third-place showing at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate highlighted what was the 84th toughest fall schedule in the country for the Spartans. Freshman Carter Jenkins made an immediate impact with four top 10s, including a win at the Wolfpack. Six other players logged at least 11 rounds during the fall, including junior Roy Dixon and sophomore Taylor Coalson.
- Georgia Southern (69): The Eagles played the 57th toughest schedule in the country during the fall, which could explain why they finished between fourth and seventh in five events. This is an experienced squad led by seniors Will Evans and Christian Humber. Junior Scott Wolfes, Charlie Martin and Kim Koivu also logged at least 12 rounds and a scoring average of 75.42 or better.
- Chattanooga (71): The Mocs, who played the 31st toughest fall schedule, finished 10th or worse during a tough three-tournament stretch to begin the fall before finishing with a fourth-place showing at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate and a runner-up finish at the Bridgestone Collegiate. Junior Liam Johnston finished in the top 10 in all three of his fall starts and led the team with a 70.25 scoring average. Freshmen Wes Gosselin, Ewan Scott and Stuart Thomas, as well as seniors Chris Robb and Davis Bunn, logged at least 11 rounds during the fall.
- Davidson (87): A runner-up finish at the Donald Ross Intercollegiate capped the fall for Davidson, which also placed fifth at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic and finished third in the conference in team scoring average (289.25). Seniors Richard Fountain and Samuel Echikson, and juniors Todd Eckstein and Ralph Blasey give this team a formidable top 4, but there was no clear fifth guy during the fall.
- Wofford (98): Wofford won twice during the fall, at the Donald Ross Intercollegiate and the Hummingbird Intercollegiate. Junior Brannan Hudson led the team with a 72.6 scoring average while senior George Perkovich shared medalist honors at the Donald Ross. Two more seniors, Chandler Brazeal and Brent McKenzie, will factor into the fold this spring, too.
- Elon (120): The Phoenix finished third at the Donald Ross, one of three fall top 5s, and were second in the conference in team scoring average (288.5). Junior Will Dilanni led the team with a fall scoring average of 72 while sophomore Jeff Kriger and senior John Somers also had top-10 individual finishes in the fall for Elon.
- Furman (129): The Paladins challenged themselves in the fall with the 62nd toughest schedule and came away with just one finish better than 10th in six events (fourth, Cardinal Intercollegiate). This is a young team with three sophomores and two freshmen among the six players logging rounds during the fall.
- Appalachian State (155): The Mountaineers were second twice during the fall, but also played the 207th toughest schedule. Appalachian State did have five players with at least nine rounds played and a sub-74 scoring average during the fall, led by junior Casey Komline.
- Samford (176): Samford struggled after opening the fall with a third-place finish at the Francis Marion Springhill Suites Intercollegiate. Freshman Garrett Moores and junior Zach Hughes led the way during the fall.
- Western Carolina (179): The Catamounts are led by the conference’s best player, junior J.T. Poston, who won three times during the fall, didn’t finish worse than fourth in five fall starts and led the conference in scoring average (68.93). As a team, Western Carolina was fifth twice, but finished 10th or worse in its other three fall events.