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The ODU Men's Golf Squad Is Featured On Golfweek.com

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 02, 2007
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March 2, 2007

The ODU men's golf squad is featured on golfweek.com.
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COLLEGE NEWS golfweek.com ODU heading in right direction

By DAN MIROCHA Assistant Editor

Old Dominion captain Stan Guerrero is an easy-going guy. Coach Murray Rudisill describes the junior from Tijuana, Mexico as the team's "stable and down-to-earth" leader.

However, there is a way to push Guerrero's buttons.

"One of the things that bothers me is that people don't know where Old Dominion is," Guerrero said. "It's like people have ignored us for all these years."

Not any more.

Old Dominion, located in Norfolk, Virginia, recorded a victory and three additional top-4 finishes during the fall. The Monarchs continued their stellar play at the spring's first event, taking second at the Argonaut Invitational on Feb. 27, two shots out of first place.

ODU has a 63-12 overall record and is up to No. 52 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, a height the Monarchs haven't reached in over a decade. And they can thank a flock of fantastic freshman for igniting the charge.

"They were a big question mark," Rudisill said. "You just can't tell how quickly it's going to take freshmen. I knew I had some talent coming in, but I had no clue they would play as well as they did. It's been a real pleasant surprise."

Rudisill calls his four freshman - Eric Onesi, John Murphy, Brandon Detweiler and redshirt Matthew Rendell - the best class he's recruited in his 32 years as head coach at Old Dominion.

Onesi has emerged as the team's top player. His 71.6 scoring average during the fall is the lowest of any freshman Rudisill has ever coached. The Delaware native notched three top-10 finishes during his first college semester. At the season-ending ODU/Seascape Collegiate, Onesi tied a tournament-best by carding a 6-under 64 in the first round.

"I could tell before he got to school that he was a player," Rudisill said. "He was not intimidated by college golf. He's not scared to go low."

In fact, three of the four freshman has recorded sub-70 rounds this year. Murphy shot his own 6-under 64 at the Joe Agee Invitational - an event the Monarchs won - and tied Onesi for seventh individually.

"They make a lot birdies and there's a lot of aggression," said Rudisill. "But you don't want to take all the aggression out of them because that's what makes them good."

Seth Norman, a local product from Virginia Beach who won the Portsmouth Amateur, Virginia Beach Amateur and the Peyton Memorial twice, transferred from Georgia Southern and signed with Old Dominion in January, adding another freshman into to the mix. He is practicing with the team now and will begin competing next fall.

"To me, it's exciting that we have a young team," Onesi said. "We know we can win for the next two or three years. We're just going to keep getting better and better."

ODU's fall was even more impressive considering sophomore Matt Watson, the team's top player last year, did not perform up to expectations. After finishing T-71 and 89th respectively in the second and third events of the year, Rudisill sat Watson for the team's fourth event and played him as an individual in the fall's last tournament.

"It was just a confidence thing," said Watson, who earned second team All-Colonial Athletic Association last year. "It was really frustrating. I haven't struggled like that really ever."

Watson nursed a sore thumb before the start of the spring season and took time away from the game. He returned at the Argonaut Invitational with a new attitude and led the Monarchs in scoring at 1-under 215, good for a T-8 finish.

Watson's resurgence will only help the Monarchs in their effort for a return trip to the postseason. Old Dominion made history in 2003 when it went to the NCAA regionals for the first time in program history. And with six players that can post sub-par scores, this year looks even more promising.

"A lot of people haven't heard of Old Dominion, so we're just putting ourselves on the map," said Onesi.

Added Watson: "I'm not sure if anyone knew about us before, but I think they definitely know they do now. We're getting our name up there as a team to reckon with."

• • •

Dan Mirocha is a Golfweek assistant editor. To reach him e-mail dmirocha@golfweek.com.

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