Monarchs Open Spring Season Monday At the Jacksonville Invitational

January 29, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Jan. 29, 2012

The ODU Monarch golf team are ready to begin their spring season Monday at the TPC Sawgrass course in Jacksonville, FL. The Monarchs had a strong Fall performance with an impressive three top five finishes which included a second place at the Joe Agee Invitational,a third at the ODU Outerbanks Invitational and a fourth at the Maryland Intercollegiate.

With the mild winter that Norfolk has been experiencing this year, the Monarchs have been able to get more time to prepare for the upcoming season.

The team's only senior, and highest ranking player Neil Henderson (North Berwick, Scotland) is the key player this spring. He had an eighth place finish at the Maryland Invitational and a fifth place finish at last years CAA Championships. Other notable players include John Dawson (Chesapeake, VA.)who placed seventh at the Joe Agee invitational, Tom Wilde (Bucks, England) who placed eighth at the ODU/OBX Invitational,junior Garth McGee (Bangor, Northern Ireland), and Jamison Randall (Cumberland, RI.).

Head coach Murray Rudisill is excited for the upcoming Jacksonville Invitational which is at the legendary TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. "It is in the best interest for our team to be able to play a great tournament like that and on such a great course," said Coach Rudisill. He is very optimistic about this upcoming season because of the amount of extra preparation that the team has had leading up to their spring season.

The Monarchs and the rest of the field will play 36 holes on Monday and 18 on Tuesday,the final day. Last year, Neil Henderson tied for 33rd with a 36-hole score of 153. A total of 13 teams will be competing at the Players Stadium Course.

Rudisill is happy with this year's stroke average of 291 which is an improvement than last year's 297. These improvements in the team will help the Monarchs prepare for the tough spring schedule that is ahead. "We are striving to win the CAA Championships, which will get us into the NCAA championships." Said Rudisill. If they qualify for the NCAA Championship it would be the first time since 2007 that ODU men's golf has gone and won a CAA title.

Rudisill wants to improve Old Dominion's current national ranking of 122nd and break into the top 100. He believes that the current level of consistency is key to winning a bid to the national tournament.

The enthusiasm he has for the love of the game and seeing his golfers continually improve is what keeps Rudisill coaching now in his 36th year.

Coach Rudisill is optimistic about the recruits coming to ODU next year. Including top Virginia recruit Ashton Newsom (Greenbrier Christian - Chesapeake, VA.) and top New England recruit Seth Sweet. "These are two of the best recruits we have had in a long time," said Rudisill. "These two golfers will be instrumental in achieving the team goal of breaking the top 50 in national rankings."

Rudisill believes that the state of the art facility at the Lamberts Point Golf Course is a key to bring in great players. He is not afraid to go the untraditional regions in the country and even internationally to recruit strong players. Currently out of the eight players on the men's roster four of them are international student athletes.

Rudisill is most proud of his golfers success in the classroom. Graduating and being complete student athletes is whats important.

By Donell Williams, Athletic Communications student intern.