Golf set to take on spring schedule

North Alabama senior Patrick Twesme drives a putt at the TVA Community Credit Union Invitational Oct. 18 at Killen. The Lions enter the spring season ranked eighth nationally after two first-place team finishes in four tournaments during the fall season. 

The North Alabama golf team enters the spring portion of its season with high hopes, as the Lions are ranked eighth nationally by the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll.

The Lions finished the fall season with two first-place finishes out of the four tournaments they participated in, and fourth and 10th place finishes in the others.

“We are on a good path,” said UNA head coach Jason Vaughn. “My expectations for this team are making the national tournament, win or top five the regional tournament and win the Gulf South Conference tournament. I really think this team has it in them to accomplish that.”

UNA began the season with a tone-setting win at the first tournament on the schedule — the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational in Columbus, Georgia.

“Anytime you can start with a win, it boosts the team confidence for the rest of the semester,” said senior Patrick Twesme. “Columbus was a great tournament all around.”

After a 10th place finish at the Division II Preview tournament in St. Leo, Florida, Oct. 4, UNA followed up at the top of the standings at the TVA Community Credit Union Invitational in Killen. The Lions closed the fall portion with a fourth place finish at the Matt Dyas Invitational in Carrolton, Georgia.

“With the fall season, I was happy with the way our guys played,” Vaughn said. “In the 12 rounds of golf we played during the fall tournaments, we were even par or better.”

The Lions face a back-heavy spring schedule that features six tournaments, including three in March.

Vaughn said this schedule format is unorthodox, but could work in the team’s favor with so many tournaments the team will easily lose focus.

The spring schedule begins Feb. 13 when the Lions travel to Lakeland, Florida, for The Matlock tournament. UNA then plays in three consecutive tournaments in Georgia, beginning with the Pirate Invitational in Savannah Feb. 27.

The Lions then travel to the First Federal Southeastern Collegiate tournament in Valdosta March 20, then the team heads to the Bobcat Invitational in Milledgeville.

UNA follows up the road trip with a home tournament when they host the Division II Spring Preview March 27 in Ford City. They close out the regular season April 3 at the Argonaut Invitational in Pensacola, Florida.

“Having a busy spring is a good thing,” Twesme said. “You do not have to sit and wait for the next tournament, especially if we are playing well.”

Twesme is one of four seniors on the team, including PING All-American Forrest Knight.

“It feels good being a senior,” Knight said. “I’ve seen all the courses we play (this spring), so I feel good having that experience heading into my last semester.”