Golf team heats up at right time

Junior Michael Peter putts during the UNA Spring Classic at the Shoals Fighting Joe Course in Muscle Shoals March 22. After finishing its first three tournaments at 10th or worst, the Lions placed third and first in its last two tournaments, respectively. The Gulf South Conference tournament is April 21-22 in Tunica, Mississippi.

After a slow start to the season, the golf team is experiencing a big swing in momentum heading into the Gulf South Conference tournament.

Sophomore golfer Forrest Knight shot a stellar tournament, turning in scores of 68, 72 and 69 to lead the Lions to victory in the 2015 Argonaut Invitational in Pensacola, Florida.

Knight finished first overall with seven strokes under par and edging the closest competitor by six strokes.

“I’ve just been hitting the ball very good as of late,” he said. “I feel like I’m finding my rhythm right now, and I’m going to keep doing the same things that I’ve been successful with.”

Senior Paul McClure finished tied for ninth overall, junior Michael Peter was 17th, junior Patrick Twesme was 23rd and junior Chris Atchley finished the tournament tied for 35th out of 85 total golfers.

“I could see our confidence growing in this tournament,” said head coach Jason Vaughn. “We got off to a slow start because of the bad weather, but now that we’re getting rounds in and the guys are finding their form.”

The Lions first spring tournament was held Feb. 23 in Savannah, Georgia at the Pirate Invitational where the Lions finished 12th out of 15.

Peter led the Lions with scores of 80, 71 and 71, which was good enough to finish 23rd overall.

In the Lions’ second tournament of the spring, UNA finished 10th out of 18 overall, but Knight turned in rounds 72, 67 and 69 to finish first overall in the tournament.

“Forrest has been steadily improving all season, and it’s great to see it paying off for him,” Vaughn said.

The Lions had a disappointing finish at the Bobcat Intercollegiate, finishing 14th out of 17 with McClure and Peter putting in the best showing for UNA finishing tied for 30th overall, with a three day score of 220.

The Lions hosted their annual UNA Spring Classic at the Shoals Fighting Joe Course in Muscle Shoals, and finished in third place with seven teams competing.

The Lions will look for Knight to continue his hot play as well as everybody else when the GSC tournament begins April 21 in Tunica, Mississippi.

Knight earned GSC Golfer of the Month for March.

“If you look at last year’s team, we started slow and we finished much better,” Vaughn said. “I feel like we as a team are finding out form and are mentally focused at the right time of the year.”

The Lions will have three weeks to prepare for the conference tournament and, while Knight has been playing well, he knows now is not the time to let up.

“I’m going to go out there and just stay focused like I have been,” he said. “I’m not playing anybody but the course and all I have to do is hit one ball at a time.”

The GSC tournament is scheduled for April 21-22 at Tunica National Golf Club in Tunica, Mississippi.

Last season the Lions finished tied for second in the conference tournament.