Men's Golf Spring 2004 Outlook
Men's Golf Spring 2004 Outlook
In his first two years as a member of the ECU men's golf team, 2002-03 GCAA Academic All-American, Jason Harris has left an impressive mark on this program. The career leader in stroke average with a 72.9 average, this two time All Conference USA performer looks to lead the Pirates to its first NCAA tournament since the 1991-92 campaign. He is joined by fellow seniors, 2002-03 GCAA Academic All-American Calle Andren and transfer Jeff Crowe.
"I am excited about what these three seniors can accomplish for our program this year," said Head Coach Kevin Williams. "Even though we got off to a rough start this fall, I really believe this is the most talented team we have ever had at ECU. It is real special to have two Academic All-Americans returning. We just need to get more continuity in our starting line-up."
Harris led the Pirates this fall with a 73.6 stroke average in six events. He tied a school record for lowest 18-hole score during the second round of the Carolina First Intercollegiate with a 6-under par 66. He finished fourth in this event and had three top 10 finishes for the fall season.
"Jason is an extremely talented and consistent golfer," said Williams. "He has become the force behind our program's improvement the last two years, and I am confident he will continue to lead us on that path this year. Before Jason came to Greenville from Tennessee, we had not cracked the top 90 in the final Golfstat rankings. His leadership and play have helped us record rankings of 84 and 78 in the last two years."
Fellow senior Jeff Crowe is playing his first and final year for the Pirates after transferring from Virginia Commonwealth two years ago. Crowe sat out last year and is currently second on the team in stroke average with a 74.5 average in six events. He had three top 20 finishes in the fall with his best performance coming in the Georgetown Hoya Invitational where he finished tied for third.
"Jeff made some big improvements this fall," Williams stated. "He is an extremely impressive golfer and has all the physical tools necessary, and he has worked hard on the mental aspect of the game so he can take that next step."
The third transfer and senior that will be counted on heavily this year is former Junior College All American, Calle Andren.
"Calle is the hardest working player I have ever been around. He is a wonderful student, not only in the class, but of the game. His preparation for tournament rounds is fun to watch and educational for his teammates. He is real close to putting it all together and when he does, watch out."
Andren played in four of the Pirates six events and had a stroke average of 75.6. His best finish was a tie for 23rd in the Franklin Street Invitational.
Junior Adam Howell, another returning starter from the last two years, only saw action in two events but is expected to have a bigger role this spring.
"Adam was very unlucky in this commitment we made to play all nine players this fall," said Williams. "We decided to play everyone and Adam was left out of the line-up a couple of times so we could see what the rest of the guys were made of. I expect that you will see Adam make a big impact for us this spring, as he is one of the most talented golfers we have and he will help us a lot."
Howell had a stroke average of 75.0 this fall in two events with his best finish at the Pirate Fall Intercollegiate. Howell holds the course record of 62 from the black tees at Bradford Creek.
Fellow junior Brandon Pace saw action in four events and finished the fall with a 77.0 stroke average.
"Brandon has a ton of ability. We just need him to play better in tournaments. I feel he can consistently be one of top players if he can get over that hump in tournament action. He fired a final round 71 in Charlotte, so hopefully we can see more of that this spring."
Sophomores Phil Reale and Robin Smith saw their first action as Pirates this fall. Reale played in three events and Smith played in five. Smith finished with a 76.2 stroke average with his first event in the Carolina First Intercollegiate being his best outing (tie for 19th). Reale finished the fall with a 77.1 stroke average and a fourth place finish in the Pirate Fall Intercollegiate, his best outing.
"I feel Robin and Phil are going to make a big impact in the future of this program," said Williams. "Both saw action for the first time and I like the game displayed by both, even though their stroke averages need to be lower."
Not very often does a freshman win a collegiate tournament but Ryan Leveque did so at the Pirate Fall Intercollegiate. His three-under par total of 213 captured his first individual title and marked the third year in a row that a Pirate has captured an individual title. It was also the sixth individual title in the last two and half years for the program.
Leveque saw action in three tournaments and finished the fall with a 74.9 stroke average. Alexander Holmqvist-Winge competed in one event for the Pirates in the fall. He fired a three-under par 69 in his first collegiate round at the Pirate Fall Intercollegiate. He struggled the final two rounds and finished with a 76.0 stroke average.
"I am extremely impressed and proud of our freshman class," said Williams. "Both Ryan and Alex are going to be excellent collegiate players and I am excited about what the future holds for them and us."
"Our long qualifier at the start of the fall showed that we had a lot of players with the same ability," said Willliams. "I felt we needed to play everyone to see how each one would hold up in tournaments. I am glad we did it because it answered some questions for me but at the same time, we did not have the right guys playing at the right time and we struggled because of it. This is an extremely talented team and I feel very confident you will see a more productive team this spring."