By Steve Eggert
The golf team is aiming to take its game to infinity and beyond when it plays the MAAC Championship at Disney World’s Magnolia golf course, starting today. The Broncs look to improve on their best team finish of the season at Monday’s Peacock Invitational, where they tied for seventh place out of 12 teams.
Sophomore James Buttermark, who shot a 75 on Monday, was proud of the team’s finish, considering its recent struggles.
“We played well at the Peacock Invitational and we shot one of our better rounds of the spring there, so I was proud of the guys,” Buttermark said. “Some positives would be that we all started to play well in the last couple of weeks, which has given us some momentum going to Florida. Some negatives would be that if we start playing bad, mentally we aren’t that tough. If we improve on the mental aspect, I think we would be good to go.”
Freshman Cole Clark shot an 80 on Monday. He was not satisfied with his score, but learned a lot about his game. He hopes to take these lessons with him to Disney World.
“At the Peacock Invitational, my putting, which has been good all season, got away from me,” Clark said. “So with some practice this week, I hope to keep it in check and post some low numbers.”
Clark admitted that his high expectations for himself were holding him back mentally during Monday’s tournament.
“Personally, I put way too much pressure on myself and my first nine score suffered as a result,” Clark said. “Once I relaxed, I got back to my normal game on the back nine. I learned a valuable lesson in overthinking the round: if I just go out there and play my game, the results will come.”
Today, the team starts their 54-hole tournament at the challenging par-72 PGA tour venue for the Children’s Miracle Network Classic normally held every October in Disney World.
Buttermark tied for seventh place out of 45 golfers last year at Magnolia. He is excited to play there again so he can golf at a place where the PGA professionals also play.
“The Magnolia course is such a great place to play,” Buttermark said. “To know that a PGA Tour event is there every year is [also] pretty cool.”
Buttermark knows his putting cannot fail him if he wants to contend. He hopes for better results than last year, and improving his putting will be the key to his success.
“[One aspect] that I hope to improve on is my putting,” Buttermark said. “If I get my putting down to where I know it can be, then I know I can compete for the win at MAACs.”
Clark is excited for the tournament so that he can play golf in the Sunshine State for his first time. He will learn that playing in Florida is different than playing in New Jersey.
“I’m very excited to be playing in Florida,” Clark said. “I’ve never played down there before, but if I can pick it up quickly, the Magnolia course should be a lot of fun. I hear Florida golf is a lot different in terms of reading putts, and the Bermuda grass can make the rough very thick, so that is something I will be prepared for.”
After Sunday’s final round, the Broncs hope they will improve on last year’s eighth place finish as a team.
“I think what we need to do to finish better than last year is that we can’t give up,” Buttermark said. “We have to be able to grind out every shot. I know we have a lot of talent on our team, so if we play our game the way I know we can, then we can definitely compete for the win.”