Barry seeks to repeat as Division II men's champs

Scott Smyers of 2013 NCAA Division II men's champion Barry.

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By Andy Zunz, Golfweek.com

After winning the NCAA Division II national championship in 2007, Barry head coach Jimmy Stobs found his team in a funk. They held the talent to pull in another title, but seemed to fail each year at the championship.

Things changed in 2013.

“This year, we had a new goal and tried to embrace the situation a little differently and go about it differently and we were able to win,” Stobs said. “It’s what every athlete should do and that’s to embrace the situation in front of them. Instead of running away from pressure situations, anticipate it and embrace it and enjoy it.”

The Buccaneers earned their second national title in the past six years thanks to their team chemistry, said Scott Smyers, a Division II PING First Team All-American.

“Last year, compared to the years before, the team chemistry was 100 percent different,” Smyers said. “We had some guys on the team that were not concerned about the team aspect. Last year, we rooted for each other and we also rooted for the team.”

With three returning All-Americans and two seniors with championship experience, Barry returns most of its talent from a year before. But winning in 2013 has not changed the team’s attitude.

“They got the taste of a championship last year and they definitely want to taste it again,” Stobs said. “They’re not being complacent at all. They’re working very hard, and it’s almost like they’ve moved on and are trying to accomplish something great again.”

Smyers will look to lead alongside fellow senior Jared Dalga, but it’s sophomore Adam Svensson who could lead the team on the scorecard. Svensson recorded the lowest scoring average for Barry last season (71.26).

“He’s going to be working on being patient and playing the correct shot at the correct time,” Stobs said. “Instead of going for the hero shot, he’s going to be more conservative and he’s going to cut out making the silly mistakes that cost him some individual tournaments last year.”

Outside of Smyers, Dalga and Svensson, Stobs expects a tight competition to fill out the fourth and fifth slots for tournaments.

“It helps them tremendously because they all want to go to the tournaments and they know they have to shoot par or better to go to the tournament,” Stobs said. “It makes them work that much harder and makes everybody better.”

Said Smyers: “We were strong from top to bottom [last year]. We felt like any one of us could win that week. A lot of teams only have three guys that could do that, but we felt our whole team was capable of doing that.

“This year, I feel as though we are more complete in that sense.”

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