Feb. 16, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Riding the momentum of a solid fall season, the Western Carolina Men's Golf team opens the spring portion of it 2012-13 schedule this Monday at the Eighth-annual Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate, hosted by Francis Marion at the Wexford Plantation in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
WCU recorded a top 10 finish in all five fall events, finishing inside the top five three times. Collectively, the Catamounts rank third in the SoCon with a 73.09 individual stroke and 292.36 team averages.
Practice rounds of the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate are scheduled for Sunday with the 54-hole event opening Monday morning with 36 holes of competition. Teams will play the final 18 holes on Tuesday, crowning both a team champion and individual medalist. The Wexford Plantation course underwent extensive renovations in 2011 as overseen by the Arnold Palmer Design Company. The course measures 6,838 yards and is a par-72 layout.
The 18-team field includes the host Patriots, defending champion, Georgia State, as well as Southern Conference foes Davidson, Elon, Georgia Southern and Samford. Nationally-ranked Division II program - and two-time Wexford Intercollegiate team champions, USC Aiken - is also in the field.
Five of the WCU's six spring tournaments will be held in the Palmetto State of South Carolina with one in Alabama and the head-to-head, co-ed match-play event - the University Cup - against Appalachian State to be contested at the Mimosa Hills Country Club in Morganton, N.C.
WCU and head coach Carter Cheves will take the team's top four scorers from the fall and add junior Jack Walsh to the scoring five for the spring opening event. Walsh has a career scoring average of 77.33 in the tournament held at Wexford and qualified for the opening tournament of the spring.
Sophomore J.T. Poston paced the Catamounts during the five fall events with a 71.29 stroke average, thrice turning in a career-best finish including a runner-up showing at the N.C. State Wolfpack Intercollegiate in late October. After leading the team in four of the five fall tournaments, Poston ranks second in the SoCon following the fall schedule. He'll be joined by freshman Taylor Lail who ranks second on the team with a 73.25 stroke average after competing in three events in the fall. Lail turned in a career-best finish at the Hummingbird Intercollegiate, the final tourney of the fall season held at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley.
Rounding out WCU's scoring side will be seniors Steven Smith and Kyle Wilson. Smith and Wilson rank tied for third on the team in scoring entering the spring, averaging 73.64 through five fall tournaments. Both Smith and Wilson have competed in the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate once prior.
Following play at Wexford, WCU travels to the Samford Intercollegiate in Hoover, Ala., a tournament in which the Catamounts placed fifth in a season ago - the best overall team finish in the spring of 2012. WCU then opens a run of four-straight tournaments in South Carolina with the University Cup the lone exception with the one-day showdown.
The Catamounts will play in the 16th-annual Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate hosted at the par-70 Palmetto Golf Club March 11-12, before playing in the 44th-annual Furman Intercollegiate in Greenville, S.C., on March 22-24.
WCU's men's and women's squads will join forces for the University Cup, head-to-head challenge with rival Appalachian State at Mimosa Hills on March 28.
The men will then make its first appearance in the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational since 2007 when the team finished tied for fifth. It is the third time that the Catamounts will have competed in the three-round event with this year's installment being held at the Spartanburg Country Club in Spartanburg, S.C., April 15-16. In late April (21-23), Western Carolina will look to improve upon its 10th-place finish in last year's SoCon Championship, again battling the course at the Ralston Creek Course on Daniel Island, S.C.