Feb. 24, 2008
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina men's and women's golf teams will open the spring portion of their 2008 schedule this weekend, Feb. 24-26, at the Cuthbert Cup on Kiawah Island, S.C. The three-round tournament, hosted by the College of Charleston, begins with a shotgun start on each day at 8:30 am.
The men will play the Osprey Point Course (par-72, 6,834 yards) both on Sunday, Feb. 24 and Tuesday, Feb. 26, with the women opening on the Cougar Point Course (par-72, 6,757 yards) on Sunday. The men will tangle with the Cougar Point Course on Monday, Feb. 25, while the women play Osprey both Monday and Tuesday.
The tournament, which includes both men's and women's teams playing between the two courses, will crown a women's champion, a men's champion and an overall combined school champion including both with the men's and women's scores.
"The Cuthbert Cup is a tremendous opportunity to showcase both our men's and women's golf programs at Western Carolina," said men's head coach Gorham Bradley. "Winning the overall program championship against the quality of schools being represented would be a huge accomplishment for golf at WCU."
Bradley added, "Without a doubt, this is the most anticipated spring season for men's golf at Western in quite some time due to our success in the fall. We have built a very challenging schedule that will allow us the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the country from conferences such as the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten."
The Catamounts are led by senior Matt Cook and junior Andres Cuenca, with freshman Caleb Marsh, junior transfer Dustin Funari and sophomore Ricky Stout providing a potent top five golfers. Those five averaged 72.3 strokes in the spring season led by Cook's 70.93.
Cook continues to stand atop Western's all-time career scoring average chart (minimum of 25 career rounds) at 71.97, just ahead of Cuenca (72.32) and Stout (75.29).
WCU posted four-straight, top-four team finishes including a pair of runner-up tallies, a fourth place and a team championship in the fall finale WCU Intercollegiate, presented by Macon Bank at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley. The Cats had nine, top-10 individual finishes during the fall including Cuenca's individual medalist honors to close the fall with a two-day total of 135, tied for third-best in school history.
"We have had a great spring practice coming off the strong showing in the fall. Our players have worked very hard in preparation for the spring season with making the NCAA tournament clearly on their mind," concluded Bradley.
On the women's side, the Catamounts had to learn to play without leading scorer, senior Malin Fryk, who missed the fall due to injury. Unfortunately, the Trollhattan, Sweden native is expected to miss the spring as well. However, she leaves the squad in the capable hands of classmate Kandy Carland, who medaled at last year's Southern Conference championship, and countrymen Desiree Karlsson, Elin Mickelsson and Josefine Sundh.
"We definitely had to make a few adjustments in the fall and were anticipating Malin's (Fryk) return to the lineup. But we were still able to post strong scores and finish the fall with momentum to move into the spring," said WCU Director of Golf and head women's coach, Steve Lott. "This weekend's tournament at Kiawah Island features many great golf teams on two challenging courses but will be a good opener to prepare us for this spring season."
Western finished the fall with three-straight, top 10 finishes. The women have also recorded an impressive 18 top-5 finishes in their last 27 events dating back to the spring of 2005. The Catamounts recorded two of the top 17 best three-round tournament scores last fall, as well as two of the school's top 20 two-round totals.
Karlsson led WCU in three of the five events during the fall season with Mickelsson pacing the Cats in the other two. The duo combined for four, top-10 individual finishes and headlined the fall scoring charts. Karlsson moved ahead of Fryk on Western's all-time scoring chart, currently standing with 2,796 total strokes in 37 rounds for an average of 75.57, just ahead of Fryk's 75.69 (4,087 strokes in 54 rounds).
2008 Cuthbert Cup - Participating Schools
Appalachian State (men & women)
Charleston Southern (men & women)
Cincinnati (men & women)
College of Charleston (men & women)
Maryland (men & women)
Miami (women only)
Missouri State (men & women)
UNC Wilmington (men & women)
Rice (men only)
Richmond (men & women)
Washington State (men & women)
Western Carolina (men & women)
William & Mary (men & women)