New challenge for men’s golf

By Emily DeLoach

This year’s golf team has a lot to live up to, after last year’s regional win and 13th place finish at nationals.

But after the move from NAIA to NCAA, teams will be on a probationary period that could last two to three years and will not have conference affiliation, meaning they will not be ranked or eligible for nationals.

The move to Div. II has not changed the team’s motivation. “The competition is stiff this year,” Coach Don Robbins said. “We have four tournaments. Each one is a big deal, and to win one would be a huge accomplishment.”

Team leaders Ian Hoffman, Dustin Funari, Brad Barfield and freshman Erik Downs are looking for a fifth player for their upcoming tournament. Eight other members are competing for the spot.

“We have a lot of young players. Hopefully their talents are realized,” Funari said. The team lost two seniors and has a hard act to follow.

“We are following our best year ever in the NAIA, with a final ranking of second in the country,” Robbins said.

“Our goals are to keep moving forward and get our younger players ready for the NCAA in upcoming years,” Barfield said.

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