“I think we’re a little bit more mature this year than we were last year overall, on and off the golf course,” said men’s coach Nick Clinard. “Last year we had a great year and ended up 14th in the country, and there’s nothing negative about that, but this year we’re just a little better. We’re deeper from a talent standpoint as well, which pushes the guys at home to improve their game.”
The men tied third in the March 18 Schenkel Invitational, with junior Blayne Barber the only player on the course to have a bogey-free tournament.
“We’ve had some good finishes, won a couple tournaments, and we’re playing well and shaping up nicely for the end of the season which is most important,” Barber said. “I think we’re on the right track. We’ve got to be a little more consistent and get all the guys playing well at the same time. We’ve got some weeks where guys play well and others don’t … We’re doing the right stuff and it will all come together.”
The Gary Koch Invitational in Tampa, Fla., will be just 12 days before the SEC tournament, but Clinard said the team is coming off an intense schedule that has prepared them for the long haul.
“We’ve had two wins and in our sport that’s quite an achievement when you have 15 teams at an event or more,” Clinard said.
“We’ve got some areas we need to get better in (like) patience and maturity, and we have to make sure we maintain our focus when we’re out there for that many hours and long days.”
The women’s team tied for sixth at the Lady Gator Invitational March 18, and sophomore Marta Sanz finished with her fourth top-10 performance of the season.
The women began the season with a second place finish in The “Mo” Morial tournament in College Station, Texas, and look to finish the season in similar fashion.
Prior to the Gator Invitaitonal, women’s coach Kim Evans told auburntige rs.com that her team could use a few more adjustments.
“It is still early and we are going with a different lineup–a good lineup,” Evans said. “We will see exactly where we are and what we need to do.”
The women finished strong in the Gator Invitational with a month remaining before the SEC tournament.
With both teams playing at a consistent level, Barber said practice is focused on simple ideas.
We want to get the most out of practice every day; we said we wanted to be strong mentally and beat people with our minds,” Barber said. “If you use that goal of winning tournaments or winning nationals or stuff like that because that’s what everyone wants to do, it’s still important to look at the process and the other things that get you to that goal.”