Last year, the John Carroll University men’s golf team captured the Ohio Athletic Conference Fall Tournament title, as well as winning the conference’s spring invitational.
When it came time for the 2009 OAC Tournament, the one that has a bid to the NCAA Division III Championships on the line, the Blue Streaks crumbled.
After day one, they found themselves fifth out of the nine competing teams. They managed a third place finish, but that wasn’t what they were looking for.
“Last year, I think we looked ahead too much,” said junior Jeff Deal, who was also a member of last year’s varsity squad. “I think we just expected to make the national tournament.”
This year, things are different. Although they lost some talented golfers from last year’s squad, the talent pool is far from empty. Senior Blake Furgerson, a PING NCAA Division III All-American from a season ago, leads a team that has its sights on winning the OAC NCAA Qualifier this weekend.
The team certainly believes they can win it this weekend, and with good reason. After a third place showing at the OAC Fall Regular Season Tournament, they managed to take the top spot at the conference’s spring tournament held just two weeks ago.
That, as well as a schedule change, has the team feeling good.
Originally, the tournament was to be held at River Greens Golf Course in Lafayette, Ohio, the same place where the Blue Streaks captured the spring tournament title earlier this season.
A schedule change has the event now being held at Tannenhauf Golf Course, a place where the Blue Streaks have seen a lot of success.
Tannenhauf is the home course to Mount Union College, and JCU has won the Mount Union Fall Invitational, held at the course in Alliance, Ohio, each of the last three seasons.
“It certainly lines up nicely for us to have it played there,” Deal said of the course. “We’ve played it plenty of times, and four of our regular starters have had plenty of practice on this course. We’re very familiar with the layout.”
In order to try and reverse the misfortune from last year, the Blue Streaks elected to play in a tournament this past weekend. In prior years, they took the weekend before the conference tournament off.
The schedule had them at The College of Wooster Nye Invitational last weekend, and the Blue Streaks took third place in the 14-team field.
Deal led the charge for JCU, notching a sixth place finish, his third top-12 finish of the spring. Furgerson, who figures to be a huge factor this weekend, took ninth at the Wooster event.
“I think playing last weekend will definitely help us,” Deal said. “Last year we had practice, but this year with us being fresh off of competing last week, we stayed mentally sharp and we should be ready to go this weekend.”
The JCU women’s golf team was certainly ready to go last weekend as they wrapped up their season with a tie for fourth place at the 2010 Ohio Athletic Conference held at Fowler’s Mill Golf Course in Chesterland, Ohio.
After the first day of competition, JCU was in fifth place, but used a strong second day to move into a tie for fourth.
JCU gained six shots on Heidelberg University on the second day to tie the ‘Berg.
Sophomore Jackie Leuby was the top finisher for the Blue Streaks, recording scores of 87 and 83 for a total of 170 that put her in a four-way tie for fourth place.
Sophomore Ashley Pettibon shot a 91 in both rounds to take 15th place.
Sophomore Kristen Courtney rounded out the top-20 finishes for the Blue Streaks by taking 19th place with a score of 187.
This was the fourth consecutive year that the women’s team finished in the top four in the OAC.