UNA golf team maintain high hopes after weather cuts tournament short

UNA golf enters the fall 2014 season ranked in the preseason top 10, according to a poll released by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

The expectations have not changed for the Lions despite finishing tied for ninth out of 18 teams at the Kiawah Island Invitational in their first match of the season. The second round of the invitational was canceled due to the weather.

“I’m really disappointed that they called the second day off because we were playing so much better,” said coach Jason Vaughn. “We shot seven under (par) and would’ve probably moved up to the top five, possibly top three, if they counted the scores.”

Par is the number of strokes a golfer is expected to need to complete each hole.

Due to the cancelation of the second day, all scores that would have counted from the next round did not.

“I really hate to see that the score wasn’t in the books,” Vaughn said. “I’m still very proud of our team, though. They battled hard in the rain and played wonderful the last day.”

The Lions as a team shot a 293, tying with Georgia College. A trio of players finished with a 73 — senior Paul McClure, sophomore Forrest Knight and junior Chris Atchley, leading UNA.

McClure said he was also disappointed to see the tournament get canceled on the second day, but despite the final score, it will not change his high hopes for the team this season.

“After the second round I’m feeling really good about this year’s team,” he said. “The team’s depth is much greater than what it has been in recent years. The top five could be interchanged at the drop of a hat.”

McClure said being ranked No. 9 in the preseason does not mean much to him because the team knows its own potential.

“We know what we can accomplish this year,” he said. “But it all depends on how hard we work this year.”

The Lions return five lettermen from last season, including McClure, the 2013 Gulf South Conference individual champion.

“We have a good group of seniors,” Vaughn said. “We have a lot of good players back, actually, and Chris is a really good player that is a (junior college) transfer.”

The Lions will now turn their focus to the AFLAC Intercollegiate in Columbus, Georgia Sept. 29-20.