After spending their summer pursuing individual wins, members of the Racer Golf Team must now compete to represent their school.
Senior golfer Hunter York said claiming one of the top five positions on the Murray State team has been especially tough this year.
“This year’s qualifier has been super competitive,” he said. “Everybody is playing well and I think that is good in the long run. The inner team competition makes everybody better. There have been a lot of really low scores shot.”
Despite the interpersonal competition that starts each season and despite how intensely individual the sport is, the Racers must also be able to function as a team to win.
In addition to the team’s leadership in York, senior Tyler Brown and senior Patrick Newcomb, the Racers have also added four freshmen to the team all from Kentucky and all adding much needed depth to the Racer team.
Preston French of Lexington, Ky., comes to the Racers after a successful high school career at Henry Clay, ending in a 17th place finish at the Kentucky State Tournament.
This summer French placed second at the Lexington City Championship and qualified for the Kentucky State Amateur.
A champion 20 times as a junior golfer, freshman golfer Jared Gosser also qualified for the Kentucky State Amateur this summer and made it to the quarterfinals in the Kentucky Golf Association Match Play Championship.
Coming to the Racers off a win at the Murray Country Club Championship this summer, Daniel Harper, a freshman golfer from Murray, also qualified for the amateur tournament this summer after several top-10 finishes during his senior year at Calloway County High School.
Duncan McCormick finished his final year of high school golfing by winning the Kentucky Region-2 Championship and went on to win the Tot Walden Invitational this summer. He also placed second in the Henderson Pro-Amateur.
“They’ve all been playing in tournaments their whole lives,” York said. “That is good coming in. They have already got a lot of experience coming in to college, which is what I think has made them play a lot better. Normally the qualifying pressure is pretty high, but they’re so used to it they’ve been shooting low scores.”
The newfound depth of field the Racers have gained in their freshmen golfers may be the component they were missing in their last attempt at the OVC title. Their first test will come this Monday with the Wasioto Winds Fall Kick Off in Pineville, Ky., with Morehead State as a host.
“That is really what we have been missing over the last couple of years is some strong guys coming in that can really help us out and they are looking really good,” Tyler Brown, senior golfer, said. “We have been really strong for the one through three spot so this year it is looking like with the freshmen and everyone stepping up and playing better golf, we should be strong from the one through the five spot.”
Regardless of how they fare in their first event, the Racers have already set their eyes on the OVC title.
“This year we will definitely be more of a contender for the OVC championship,” Brown said. “Obviously our number one guy, Patrick Newcomb, (senior) will be leading the charge and we will have four others right behind him who will be able to get some wins and hopefully the championship.”
Story by Kyra Ledbetter, Staff Writer.