Golf picks back up after fall season

by Sports Editor Jacob Cole

The North Alabama golf team prepares to start the 2018 spring season after finishing the fall golf season.

The Lions earned positive finishes in the first part of the season, but head coach Cullen Carstens said continuing forward is big for the team.

“I think our focus for the spring is to continue some of the good momentum we had at the end of the fall season,” he said. “We played our best golf at the end of the fall, so we are hoping that will pick back up after our winter break.”

Carstens also said the spring will provide the Lions golf team with its toughest challenges.

“The spring is where we have our toughest tournaments, so it’s crucial for us to knock the rust off as quick as possible now that we are back in school,” he said. “I expect us to continue developing and improving every week, hopefully peaking right in time for postseason play to begin.”

Junior Payton Massey said improvement is the key to having a successful spring season.

“I’m looking forward to traveling to the many great tournaments we get to play during the spring and hopefully making an improvement from the fall as a team by getting more than one win,” Massey said. “I look forward to trying to play in my first national championship.”

The Lions lone tournament win came in the TVA Community Credit Union Invitational. UNA shot the tournament best 866 as a team with Massey leading the way shooting a 70. The Lions three-stroke win is aided by Eli Hodges, Thomas Luther and Aaron Jackson who all shot under a 75 on the last day of play.

After beginning the season ranked seventh in the nation in Division II, the Lions finished 11th at the Griffin Invitational Sept. 20, 2017. UNA finished in fifth place finish at the Cougar Invitational and then UNA’s only team win.

Carstens said two of his golfers were making great strides at the end of the fall season.

“Junior Payton Massey and redshirt freshman Thomas Luther are two guys who really played well towards the end of this past fall,” Carstens said. “Payton finished third individually at our home event at Turtle Point, and Thomas also had a top-5 finish at our final fall event at West Georgia.  Both guys took great strides in practice that lead to steady play last semester, so hopefully they pick up right where they left off in October.”

Carstens’ squad of golfers will return Paul Bloodworth for his last semester as a golfer at UNA. Carstens said Bloodworth’s best golf his ahead of him in the spring season.

Carstens said moving to Division I is exciting with new milestones ahead for the UNA golf team.

“It will be bittersweet to turn the page on several proud moments of UNA golf history, but we are excited for the future and to start reaching new milestones at the Division I level,” Carstens said.