Endurance will be key at golf championships

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By JASON STRICKLAND
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – Monday will mark the fifth consecutive time Mules golf has competed at the NCAA-II Championships.
The Mules enter the five-day event ranked No. 12 in the country.
MIAA Champion Central Oklahoma is 10th.
Head coach Tim Poe said defending national champion Nova Southeastern and Barry University are definitely the favorites since they are ranked first and second, but he also said anyone had a chance, inducing the young Mules team.
“I would consider us a team that has a real good shot, I really do,” Poe said. “I don’t think anybody is going to expect three freshmen and two sophomores to come in there and set the world on fire, but if they don’t expect it, they better watch out because it could happen.”
Teddy Jones, Travis Mays and Central/Midwest Regional champion Robby Hughey are the freshmen, and Cy Moritz and Sam Migdal are the sophomores.
“I really feel like these guys have kind of got over the freshman mistakes and mental issues that freshmen have early in their careers,” Poe said. “I think they’ve got the confidence of upperclassman.”
Moritz helped the Mules place eighth in last year’s championships after finishing 15th individually.
Poe said Hughey is battling a fever and sore throat, but he said he expects him to be ready to go by tournament time.
The difference between this event and other tournaments is the length. Each player will play the typical 54 holes the first three days, but could play as many as 108 if they make it to the championship pairing on Friday.
“You can hardly prepare for it because you don’t play that much all year,” Poe said. “You just got to make sure you’re staying rested and eating right.”
The top eight teams after Wednesday will enter match play on Thursday.
The four winners on Thursday morning will play another match play round in the afternoon. Then the final two teams battle for a round on Friday.
There are four courses at the Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa., but the tournament will be exclusively on the East Course.
“It just looks very old, very traditional and tree-lined,” Poe said. “It’s very narrow. It’s going to be a course that it’s going to be mandatory to get the fairway.”
Poe said he expects the scores to be fairly high.
“You’re going to have to be patient and not expect too much,” he said. “If you get in trouble, just take a bogey and go on.”
Poe also said this region’s teams could have an advantage.
“These guys have grown up on golf courses like this,” he said. “I think it’s going to wind itself a little bit more for the style of play in the Midwest.”