Golf comes on strong

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Sep 052006
 
Authors: Craig Schulz The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The men’s and women’s golf teams’ preparations for a strong season are in full gear, and expectations are high for both squads.

Getting better every day and every tournament is the main focus for the men’s team, said Head Coach Jamie Bermel.

“There is no margin for error,” he said. “As long as we take care of our business, everything will fall into place.”

The men’s team is led by senior Derrick Whiting who, last year, had the most success and was the only Ram to place in the NCAA Regional Tournament where he finished 46th overall. He also competed in all 13 tournaments, where he finished twice in the top 10, and four times in the top 20.

The men’s team sees seven returning players including senior Aaron Weston and sophomore Zen Brown, both of whom are going into this season with a lot of confidence, Bermel said.

He also said he expects sophomores Herve Gevers and Praneeth Perera to play well this season.

Top goals for the women’s team include making the post-season and creating and maintaining a stronger team unit.

The nine-person roster features five returning golfers, including junior standout Chelsea Benton.

Last year, Benton was named to the All-Mountain West Conference team by maintaining a 74-stroke average and playing well throughout the year. At the Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Tournament, she tied for third after shooting a season-best 67.

She finished last season tied for 10th at the Mountain West Conference Championships.

Also returning are junior Megan Chapman and sophomore Stefanie Ferguson, who both earned the National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar award over the summer.

Some other new faces that make up the squad are junior transfer Mary Ellen Herring and freshmen Kasey Claussen and Jenny Pease.

Women’s Head Coach Angie Hopkins believes that this year will be different for the Ram golfers because the competition has leveled off.

“For the past few years, UNLV has dominated the conference, but this year is a toss up,” she said. “All seven teams are very strong and it should be an interesting season.”

The men begin play at the Gene Miranda Invitational Sept. 9-10 at the Eisenhower Golf Course in Colorado Springs, and the women’s season will open at the Ptarmigan/Ram Fall Classic Sept.11-12 at the Ptarmigan Country Club in Fort Collins.

Staff writer Craig Schulz can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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