Aug. 11, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - A combined 10 tournaments spread equally over the fall and spring semesters including hosting an expanded Hummingbird Intercollegiate at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley to close the fall highlight the 2013-14 Western Carolina men's golf schedule unveiled this weekend by first-year head coach Bryant Odom.
Opening for a second-straight season at the Golfweek Program Challenge in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in early September, the schedule culminates with the annual Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship, April 19-22, which will be held at the National Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C., for the first time.
"I am very excited about the competitive schedule we have this year," said Odom, who was named the Catamounts' head coach on July 25. "Our location in Western North Carolina is perfect for college golf, giving us access to some of the best and toughest tournaments in the nation. Playing in these events will provide the steps for a return to NCAA post-season and increase the opportunities for individual success on the national stage."
For the second-straight season, Western Carolina opens its year in a unique format, joining the Catamount women's squad in the Golfweek Program Challenge, Sept. 8-10. The men's team will compete for a tournament championship in the 54-hole event on the True Blue course in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with the final combined score added to the women's combined score for an overall event champion. Last season, behind a ninth-place finish by J.T. Poston, the Catamount men finished fourth in the tournament.
WCU closes out the month of September by traveling to Louisville, Ky., for the Cardinal Intercollegiate.
Two competitions in October begin with a return to the Wolfpack Intercollegiate, hosted by North Carolina State at the Lonnie Poole Golf Club. It is the fourth-consecutive season the Catamounts will play in the event riding a team-best fourth-place showing in last year's tournament. Poston finished tied for second with a 54-hole score of 214.
October concludes with a visit to the South Carolina Lowcountry for the Invitational at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, S.C.
For a seventh-straight season - and the eighth time overall - WCU and the Country Club of Sapphire Valley will host the 2013 Hummingbird Intercollegiate to close the fall portion of the 2013-14 schedule. This marks the first-year that the tournament will be expanded to a three-day, 54-hole event. The Hummingbird Intercollegiate is scheduled for Nov. 3-5 with a practice round on Nov. 2. Last season, WCU's Tyler Lail paced the squad in a tie for fourth-place at the home tournament.
"We are very pleased to once again host The Hummingbird in nearby Cashiers. The Country Club of Sapphire Valley provides so much more than just a pristine golf course for our program to use throughout the season. The club's membership, golf staff and overall hospitality have added immeasurable value to the program and the Hummingbird Invitational for several years. This is a great opportunity for us to play a national field while showcasing this special place we call home," said Odom.
Five spring events will be spread through three states including two in Alabama and South Carolina, concluding with the conference championship in North Carolina. WCU opens its spring semester looking to improve upon its seventh-place finish at last year's Samford Intercollegiate held at the Hoover Country Club. The following week, the squad returns to the "Yellowhammer State" to play in the Tiger Invitational at Grand National in Opelika, Ala.
March concludes with the first of back-to-back trips to the Upstate of South Carolina. On March 28-30, Western Carolina competes in the 45th annual Furman Intercollegiate. Last season, Poston tallied 13 birdies to lead two Catamounts in the top 20 in a tie for fourth-place as WCU finished sixth as a team - its best showing of the spring semester. Two weeks later, WCU will tee-off in the Wofford Invitational at the Country Club of Spartanburg, April 14-15. It is the second-straight year the Catamounts have entered the conference-foe's event, and the fourth-time overall in the history of the tournament.
The 2013-14 regular season concludes with the 2014 Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship to be held at the National Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C. The Catamounts look to improve upon back-to-back 10th-place showings in the tournament.
"We have a consistently strong schedule this fall culminating with two of the best venues for college golf - The Ocean Course at Kiawah and our own event at The Country Club of Sapphire Valley. The spring season takes us to events in Alabama hosted by Samford and Auburn, then back to South Carolina for Furman and Wofford's tournaments. All four of these events will provide us a true test leading up to the Southern Conference Championship at National Golf Club in Pinehurst," said Odom.
Western Carolina returns six golfers from its roster a season ago including Poston and Lail, both of which paced the team in scoring in at least one event. An All-SoCon selection, Poston earned an at-large bid into NCAA post-season a year ago while also garnering PING All-East Region accolades. The Catamounts return two seniors in Greg Bunner (77.71 average) and Jack Walsh (77.76 average) with Matthew Turner and redshirt junior Collin Witiak joining classmate Poston.
In addition to Poston who stands second, four of WCU's returners rank inside the program's top 30 in career scoring average.
Lail represented the lone freshman on last year's squad with Bluefield, W.Va., native Evan Smith joining fellow newcomer Alex Simmons, who sat out last season after transferring from UNCG, as first-year players for WCU in 2013-14.
"Looking ahead for the season, my goal is to raise the level of expectation for WCU golf and progress each and every week as a team. This may not always be measured in our score or finish at a tournament. With individual progression throughout the year and high expectations, we will become a stronger and more competitive team," Odom said.
Western Carolina Men's Golf 2013-14 Schedule
Sept. 8-10: Golfweek Program Challenge - True Blue Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sept. 23-24: Cardinal Intercollegiate - Cardinal Golf Course in Louisville, Ky.
Oct 7-8: Wolfpack Intercollegiate - Lonnie Poole Golf Club in Raleigh, N.C.
Oct. 27-29: Invitational at the Ocean Course - Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C.
Nov. 2-5: Hummingbird Intercollegiate - Country Club of Sapphire Valley in Cashiers, N.C.
March 3-4: Samford Intercollegiate - Hoover Country Club in Hoover, Ala.
March 10-11: Tiger Invitational - Grand National in Opelika, Ala.
March 28-30: Furman Intercollegiate - Furman Univ. Golf Course in Greenville, S.C.
April 14-15: Wofford Invitational - Country Club of Spartanburg in Spartanburg, S.C.
April 20-22: 2014 Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship - National Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C.