The CSU men’s golf team may have lost two of the best players in school history when Martin Laird and Nolan Martin graduated last spring. However, Ram’s Head Coach Jamie Bermel said, there are several players eager and able to fill the voids created by their departure.
Leading the relatively young and inexperienced team are senior John Hayes and juniors Kevin McAlpine and Nate Pettitt. Hayes, McAlpine and Pettitt will all be expected to take on leadership roles this year, said to Bermel.
“They are our most experienced players and we’re counting on them to play well,” Bermel said. “With this young team, they need to step up and play well for us.”
Even though this team is not as experienced as previous CSU teams, Bermel said he is confident in his players’ abilities.
“We’re a little younger than we have been in the past,” Bermel said. “We have some inexperienced players, (but) we have some guys that have the capability to play well.”
In addition to the team’s three top players, McAlpine, Hayes and Pettitt, Bermel also expects sophomore Derrek Whiting and redshirt sophomore Aaron Weston to make significant contributions.
Other members of the roster include sophomores Will Eberhard and Geoff Heller, and freshmen Clint Oleson and Praneeth Perera. None of these four players have played in a tournament at CSU.
Bermel said he expects McAlpine, Hayes and Pettitt to take on larger roles with the team in order to compensate for the departures of Laird and Martin, who were both named third team All-Americans by Golfweek Magazine last season and are currently pursuing professional golf careers.
“Last year, (McAlpine, Hayes and Pettitt) were kind of in the shadow of a couple All-Americans,” Bermel said. “But now it’s their turn to step up and play in that leadership role and play well each week.”
All of the players worked hard this summer and they should be ready for the season that lies ahead, said Bermel.
In July, McAlpine was a member of the Scottish team that won the European Amateur Youths’ Team Championship at the Island Golf Club in Ireland. McAlpine also tied the St. Andrews Old Course record in June with a score of 62.
Going into this season, McAlpine has high expectations for himself and his team.
“I’m hoping to get into the top 100 ranked players in the nation,” McAlpine said. “Our team is going to be not as good as last year, but I think we can definitely compete. Hopefully we’ll get together as a team and compete, and hopefully win some tournaments.”
Hayes is entering this season, after having the most significant golfing summer of his life as he competed in August the U.S. Amateur Championship in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
“(The U.S. Amateur) was probably the biggest tournament I ever played in,” Hayes said. “(It) was a big thrill for me.”
CSU has been to the NCAA men’s golf tournament for nine straight years, and its main goal is to get back to the tournament for a tenth straight year, Bermel said.
The team resumed practices last week, and will participate in six three-hour practices per week. Bermel said he wants the team to focus on improving its putting, chipping and hitting the ball out of the sand.
“We spend a great deal of time working on our short game,” Bermel said. “My focus for this team is we need to be efficient around the green. So we’re going to concentrate on the short game a lot this fall.”
The first tournament on CSU’s schedule will take place at the University of Michigan on Sept. 11-12. The Rams will play five tournaments this fall before entering their competitive season in the spring.
2004-2005 CSU Men’s Golf Schedule
Tournament Location Date
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Mich. Sept. 11-12
New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. Oct. 1-2
Fresno State Fresno, Calif. Oct. 8-9
Stanford Palo Alto, Calif. Oct. 22-24
San Diego State San Diego, Calif. Oct. 25-26