DADE CITY, FL – The Troy Trojans men’s golf team can head home knowing they finished strong.
After a slow start to the USF Invitational Tournament at the beautiful Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club, the Trojans shot their best collective round (3-over 292) of the tournament Tuesday, and enjoyed several memorable moments during the day en route to a ninth-place finish.
Leading the way was Jake Tucker, who tied for the day’s second best score with a fantastic 4-under 68, finishing tied for 14th out of the 88-man field.
“I felt like I played really solid through the round,” Tucker said. “I made a couple bogeys to drop my strokes, but I made two chip-ins in a three-hole span, so that was good.”
The shot of the day came from Kyle Thommeson, who sank a 35-foot putt for eagle on the ninth hole, ending his 5-over 77 round on a high note.
“I had definitely had some good today, but also some bad,” Thommeson said. “The greens were very receptive to full shots, but for chipping and putting they were hard as a rock.”
Seeing the way the Troy golfers convened following their round in comparison to other teams, it’s evident that they’re a close-knit group.
“I think Troy is probably one of the best teams chemistry-wise in the nation,” said Wil Clowdus, a Troy sophomore who shot a 2-over 74 on the day.
“We all wake up at 6:30 in the morning, have workouts together, go to class together, go to practice together, and eat dinner together. We’re like a family.”
Sophomore Tolver Dozier shot a solid even-par 72, narrowly missing out on a birdie putt that would have had him in the red to end the tournament, while sophomore Phillip Brennan shot a 5-over 77.
As a team, the Trojans saw their collective scores progressively improve (304, 297, 291) over the three-day tournament, giving them something to build upon as they begin their hectic spring season, which sees them play five tournaments in the next six weeks.
Troy eying Canadians
The young men comprising the Troy team are all native Alabamians, but if assistant coach Bart Barnes has his way, Canadian talent could soon be donning the cardinal black and silver.
“We’re branching out,” Barnes said, adding high-praise for the development and talent of golfers coming out Canada.
“You can see that generationally, guys like [Mike] Weir and [Graham] DeLaet have had an impression on these younger players, especially if you look at the number of Canadians playing in the States, playing for colleges now.”
Barnes said that Troy is doing serious recruiting in the southwestern Ontario region, with eyes on prospects from Waterloo and Brampton, in particular.
There is also a Canadian connection within the university faculty that Barnes would like to take advantage of.
“A couple of people in our academic services are Canadian, from the [southwestern] Ontario area…our kids work with the academic support staff on a day-to-day basis so to have some representation on the players’ side makes sense.”
Traditional southern hospitality and renowned Canadian friendliness would seem to make for a great pairing, but of course, climate also makes for an easy and obvious sell.
“We’re happy to bring cold-weather folks down to south Alabama and enjoy some sunshine.”