DADE CITY, FL – Scotland’s Charlie Macneal made a life-changing decision in 2011 that brought him across the ocean to the University of Louisville.
The junior golfer was the first of five internationals on the current Cardinals’ roster, and he believes joining the red and black was the right move.
“I think I have matured a lot [since moving to the United States],” said Macneal, after the final round of the USF Invitational last week at Lake Jovita. “I realized there are a lot of good guys out here, helping you realize how good you have to be.
“Also the work ethic over here, our day starts at 5:15 a.m., and works through the day. But back home is not quite as intense as that.”
Thanks to his experiences, Macneal has become a mentor for the other incoming European students: freshmen Robin Sciot-Siegrist, of France, and Maximilian Waltz, of Germany, as well as sophomores Antoine Le Saux, also from France, and Henry Tomlinson, of England.
“I definitely feel [my mentoring] helps,” said Macneal, who finished 41st on the tough Florida course. “When I first got here I was the first international student, so I didn’t know how to do simple things like get a phone and going around campus.
“I have helped them out and we are all getting along really, really, well, giving us good team chemistry.”
Perhaps it is that team chemistry, along with its dedicated work ethic that makes this squad “very independent,” according to the team’s assistant coach Andrew Tredway.
Focusing on short game
Tredway and the rest of the coaching staff have had the team focusing on their short game during the off-season, looking to build on the fall success in hopes of a return trip to the NCAA Regionals.
“We are always working on our short games, 100 yards and in,” said Macneal. “That’s what our coaches are really trying to focus on, our wedge game, chipping, and putting especially.
“We have been doing a lot of drills, 72 putt drills per day … from 10 feet and in just trying to be more solid.”
The Cardinals began the USF Invitational with high hopes following the team’s success after its several top-five finishes in fall events, highlighted by a first-place finish at home in the Cardinal Intercollegiate.
Players were also confident heading into the tournament, but came out with a weak performance, finishing 29-over par to place 10th overall in the team competition.
“We were trying to win. We had a pretty good team down here and we felt pretty confident coming into the week.” said Macneal, reflecting on the performance.
“We didn’t play the par 5s as well as we could have. All of other schools were playing them a lot under par and we were playing over, that really was our biggest weakness this week.”
Maclean found himself struggling with both his game and bad weather in the first two days of play, scoring 9-over after 36 holes.
Unfortunately, he did not find redemption under the scorching sun at the beautiful Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club during his final 18.
After completing his round, Macneal reflected on his performance.
“I hadn’t really gotten anything going in the first two rounds, my putting wasn’t too good,” he said. “I had been close but I just had not got there.
“I felt pretty confident and had a pretty good game plan. I was just trying not to three-putt, that was my main goal, but I didn’t really quite get there.”