When Barry University men’s golf team tees it up next week at the Brickyard Invitational to begin the 2012-13 season, there will be an added incentive.
Yeah, every year the goal remains the same: shoot for the top and keep the scores low. That’s every golf team’s quest. This year for the Buccaneers, the drive to perform amped itself up a notch from the carry-over effect.
Four starters return from a team that advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championships. They left with an appearance in the quarterfinal round of match play. That wasn’t good enough. With lofty expectations and a renewed sense of redemption at the forefront of this Bucs squad’s agenda, the anticipation for 2012-13 grew exponentially immediately after Barry parted ways from Louisville last May.
“The team is anxious to get back to playing in tournaments and settle some unfinished business,” Bucs head coach Jimmy Stobs said. “We were ranked No. 1 for most of the spring, but came up short at the national championship.”
Whether the Bucs, who enter the 2012-13 season ranked No. 2 in the Golf World/Nike national Division II poll, settle that business or not remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, it starts with the veterans who’ve already tasted national tournament spoils.
“We have two seniors and possibly three juniors that will make up the projected lineup,” Buccaneers 11-year coach Jimmy Stobs said. “All five have experience at a high level.”
That quintet begins with the Swedish seniors.
Senior Marcus Segerstrom, a Ping honorable mention All-American, All-South Region and Second-Team All-Sunshine State Conference selection as a junior, carried a 73.22 stroke average last year. He tied the school record for low round, shooting a 65. He tied for third at the Matlock Collegiate Classic with a 4-under 212. Segerstrom, who hails from Nocetalje, Sweden, tied for seventh at the South/Southeast Super Regional after carding a 3-under 213.
Senior Simon Forsslund returns for his second year with the Buccaneers program. Last year, the Stockholm, Sweden native won the first tournament he competed in, collecting the Nova Southeastern Shark Invitational individual trophy, following a 5-under 211 to anchor Barry’s team title at the event. Forsslund held a 74.61 stroke average as a junior.
Junior Scott Smyers, an All-South Region and honorable mention All-SSC choice as a sophomore, placed second at the Matlock Classic with a 6-under 210 last season. He tied for fourth at the Buccaneer Invitational after shooting 5-under 208. Smyers, who hails from Lakeland, Fla., maintained a 73.84 stroke average which ranked third on the team in 2011-12.
Junior Marcelo Huarte, an honorable mention All-American, also tied the school record for low round after firing a 65 in the first round of the Buccaneer Invitational last spring. He tied with Smyers for fourth place in Barry’s home event. A Miami native, Huarte tied for 15th at the NCAA Championships, and also placed seventh at the Southeastern Intercollegiate. He carried a 74.41 stroke average.
Junior transfer Jared Dalga, who played for a year-and-a-half at Eastern Michigan, was third at Notre Dame’s Gridiron Classic last fall. He also finished third at the Firestone Invitational. Dalga had a 72.3 stroke average in the fall portion of his sophomore season.
Sophomore Nelson da Silva Ramos, who was enrolled at New Mexico before transferring to Barry last year, is also trying to crack into the lineup. Ramos did not compete last season for the Buccaneers. Junior Jaime Rodriguez, a Miami product who appeared in two events in each of his first two seasons at Barry, is another itching to compete amongst the starting five. Stobs made clear before the season that all spots were open, and that no one was given a free pass.
That means sophomore Berry Jole, a Rysuhout, Netherlands product who shot 68 in the first round of the Buccaneer Invitational last spring, also enters the season with a chance to compete. As does sophomore John Yu, a Fresh Meadows, N.Y. product who competed twice while wearing the Buccaneers gear last year, and freshmen Eirik Groenhaug, a Kolnes, Norway native who was the No. 17-ranked junior in his country, Chris Howard, an IMG match play champion from Bury Lancashire, England, and Nico Cavero, of Doral, Fla., who won the individual district title in high school.
“Four of the starting five from last year’s team are back. They were disappointed in the way we finished the season and want to prove that they are a championship team who can handle the pressure,” Stobs said. “They want to experience a championship, but realize that it won’t be handed to them. They must earn it.
“Losing (All-American) Daniel (Stapff) to graduation is part of the business. He was a great player, but now it’s time for others to step up and do their job. We have very capable players that are ready to do just that. Marcus and Simon enter their senior years with a professional career looming. They need to lay the foundation for which they will build upon once they graduate and move on. Marcelo and Scott are now comfortable with their positions on the team, and are expected to continue to work hard and get better.”
If they continue to improve, and in turn the Bucs as a whole continue to get better, what does all that mean in the long run, you ask?
“The 2012-13 team will once again be in the mix for the national championship. It is a long season, and we intend to use it to get better each and every tournament. When we get another chance to be great, I expect the guys will rise to the occasion.”