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Men’s Golf among Nation’s Best after Strong Fall Season

Greens in regulations, putts per round and course management have helped pave the way for the Florida Atlantic University men’s golf team to have a strong fall season and achieve national ranking.

One first place finish and two runner-up showings have the Owls ranked just outside the nation’s top 100 teams in a recent Golfweek magazine issue. 

“Our fall season exceeded my expectations,” said Angelo Sands, FAU head men’s golf coach.  “We have had a different mindset going into a tournament this fall.  If we play our game, then we have a good chance of winning any event on our schedule.”

FAU beat out nine teams to win the Bethune-Cookman Tournament in Daytona Beach on October 24-25, and placed second in the Stetson Invitation in Deland on November 2-3 and the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational in Fort Myers on October 12-13.  The team finished behind Florida Gulf Coast University in both of those tournaments, while beating the Eagles in the Bethune-Cookman event.

Sands said that believing the small details about golf can make a difference in the team’s overall score has helped make a difference in the team’s season.

“Golf is a game of numbers and stats,” said Sands.  “The guys understand what it takes to shoot a competitive round.  They understand what the stats tell you about shooting the score you do in a round.”

Key ingredients for a good scoring round, Sands said, include a golfer’s successful hit of fairways and placement of a ball on the greens in regulation, also while examining the total putts taken during a round, the percentage of greens hit on par 3 holes, as well as how often the player saves par from within 10 yards of the green.

“How you play on the par 3’s can really tell a lot about how well you are playing for that day,” said Sands.  “If you can hit the greens on three of the four par 3’s, you have three opportunities to shoot under par for the round.  After doing well on the par 3’s, then you can concentrate on playing well on the par 4’s.  When that happens, you can really post a low score and help the team.”

Senior Ben Silverman has accepted this philosophy this fall to capture the Sun Belt Conference’s “Male Golfer of the Month” award for October.  The Thornhill, ontario native finished in a tie for second place in all three fall tournaments, ranks third in the conference with a 71.1 stroke scoring average, and has improved his score in each event.

“I was just looking to shoot even-par for each event,” Silverman said about his goals for the fall season.  “I still want to win a tournament and believe it will come if I continue to work hard on my game over the winter.”

Others have bought in as well, with junior Kelly McHugh and sophomore Carl McCauley recording lower scoring averages this fall than last year.  McCauley improved six strokes from last spring to compile a 73 scoring average and McHugh lowered his scoring average from last fall by nearly a .25 margin per round. 

FAU starts the spring season Friday, March 5 through Sunday, March 7, 2010 at the South Florida Tournament in Orlando – the first of five tournaments, including their own invitational Friday, March 26 through Sunday, March 28, 2010 in Delray Beach and the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Monday, April 26 through Wednesday, April 28, 2010.

 “We haven’t met our potential yet,” said Sands.  “The guys are not afraid to shoot low scores and numbers.  one day, all five guys are going to be hitting on all cylinders.”