The Marshall University men’s golf team is back in action this weekend as the team heads into its second tournament of the spring season starting on Feb. 22 at Loyola Intercollegiate in Goodyear, Arizona.
The Herd is showcasing six players in the three-day, 54-hole event at Palm Valley Golf Course. The lineup is senior Ben Roeder, redshirt junior Cameron Root, redshirt junior Will Straub, junior Brad Plaziak, sophomore Kyle Mitchell and freshman Tyler Jones.
“We have one purpose going down to Phoenix,” Coach Matt Grobe said. “That is we try to give ourselves on the final day a chance to win the tournament and not come back and say this is another really fun trip. We have had enough of those so let’s start having some trips where we start winning.”
This is the first time the Herd is traveling to the Loyola Intercollegiate. In previous tournaments, the men’s team has traveled to tournaments they have played on multiple times, so this will be a new setting for the team, Grobe said.
“It will be different conditions because we have never played at this golf course before,” Grobe said. “All these courses we have coming up we have already been to. This is the first course that nobody on the team has seen before so this will be an experience for us, we have to learn pretty quickly.”
Root and Straub continue the take stride in playing in each tournament of the spring season. There are four players who are playing in their first tournament of the spring season: Roeder, Plaziak, Mitchell and Jones. This is Roeder’s first and last tournament for the spring season.
“I feel really good going into the tournament,” Roeder said. “I like how I’m hitting the ball, my body feels good and so does my mind.”
Coming off a two-week break from the Georgia Southern tournament, the team has been dealing with cold weather conditions, making it difficult to practice outdoors, Grobe said.
“The men’s team have been able to get a little work in but not a lot,” he said. “Our weather has not been very good as far as getting out and actually playing.”
Despite the weather being a factor, some members of the team said they have focused on specific parts of their game in order to prepared for this tournament.
“I am hitting my irons good off the tee, but I really want to focus on putting,” Root said. “I want to try to stay away from the three putts and focus on the six to eight feet range.”
Being the only freshman traveling to Arizona, Jones said he is looking forward to the tournament.
“I definitely feel like I have been working really hard and saw the results in the fall,” Jones said. “I just want to go out there and play well, but also to have fun.”
Jones and Mitchell both had the best scoring averages over the fall season, Jones with the best scoring average of a 74.40 followed by Mitchell with 75.73.
“I loved seeing what I saw out of Tyler in the fall, but I really would like to see more of our upperclassmen lead a little bit,” Grobe said. “Hopefully this spring, some of the upperclassmen can shine through and support what the freshmen and sophomores have been doing in the fall.”
The Herd is set to play the three-day round on Feb. 22.
“We are there to try to win,” Grobe said. “We are not there just for fun and come back home and make great memories. I want the great memories to be the fact that we played good.”
Stormy Randazzo can be contacted at [email protected]