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AUBURN, Ala. – North Carolina-Greensboro head coach Terrance Stewart just wants his team to ‘stick around’ long enough for the Spartans to advance to next week’s championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
This ‘Cinderella’ – as Stewart referred to, lightly – made its first team appearance at an NCAA regional Thursday.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Stewart said, who is in his 13th season in Greensboro, N.C.
The Spartans shot 10-over 298 in the first-round of the Auburn (Ala.) Regional on Thursday, putting them in seventh place. That’s just one shot out of that fifth and final spot to gain its first-ever NCAA Championship berth.
It’s early, but Stewart wants the team to stick to its game plan, which he said he would reiterate before Friday’s second round.
“I just keep telling them we have to stick around, go out their and grind, and we absolutely did that today and will continue to,” added Stewart.
UNCG, No. 68 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College rankings, is a young squad with plenty of firepower.
In the field this week: two freshmen – Carter Jenkins and Jake McGlone – two sophomores – Taylor Coalson and Luke Haithcock – and the veteran of the group, a junior – Roy Dixon.
Coalson, of Dobson, N.C., who was the 2012-13 Southern Conference co-freshman of the year, paced the Spartans on Thursday. He came in with a 1-under 71 and is tied for fourth heading into the second round at the Auburn University Club.
Coalson, along with his teammates, are ecstatic that they are the first team from UNCG to compete in a regional. Not only did they want to do this for themselves, but for coach Stewart, too.
“He’s just as excited as the rest of us,” Coalson said. “He wants it more than any of us and we want to do it for him and UNCG.”
Coalson also echoed the fact that the team just needs ‘hang in there’ for one of the top five spots.
So far, Stewart has one player in the right mindset, and soon the rest shall follow.