Apr 8, 2008

Liberty golfers finish fourth at ironwood

by Will Luper
The Liberty men’s golf team finished fourth out of 15 teams at East Carolina’s Ironwood Pirate Intercollegiate in Greenville, N.C. The tournament was originally scheduled to be three rounds, but the second round was canceled due to inclement weather. After Friday’s play, Liberty found itself sitting in second place behind Newberry University thanks in large part to the fact that Liberty’s worst score on the day was only two strokes over par. Senior Parker McCoy and junior Jay Calvo sat tied for eighth place at even par as Liberty’s two best golfers.

“I was happy how we played today,” coach Jeff Thomas said. “I think we left a little bit in the bag on Friday, but we came off the course, and we were in second place. It was a good feeling.”

On Sunday, the Flames as a whole only scored four strokes higher than in the first round; however, the story of the tournament was the explosion from St. John’s University. Coming in at 294 strokes on Friday, the Red Storm thundered into the lead as they dropped their second round score by 14 strokes, finishing at 278.

“St John’s played really well,” Thomas said. “They deserved to win this tournament.” The Flames did not play poorly, though. Calvo and sophomore Nathan Schenz-Davis both finished in the top 10 for individual performances, finishing with 143 (+1) strokes through both rounds.

The ultimate goal remains the same as last week as the Flames keep their eyes on the Big South Tournament. They came into the weekend ranked third in the Big South. “Radford is ranked second in the Big South,” Thomas said. “We were able to beat them. Winthrop is ranked fourth, right behind us, and we were able to beat them.”

Thomas attributes his team’s success to the fact that it is a deep team. “We have seven or eight guys that are playing well right now,” hesaid. “We have five guys that start, and there are three or four guys that we can put in the lineup at any point and shoot the same scores.”

Positives to take away from the weekend, according to Thomas, are the strong play and development of the team as a whole. “As Dave (Je) gets more consistent and Jay can get back to where he was playing before, it makes us really strong,” Thomas said. “As those guys develop into top two guys, we will get better. That is what happened this weekend.”

Calvo did not play last weekend at the Lacrosse Homes Collegiate, when the Flames finished second place out of 19 teams. Thomas decided to give him a break just to gather himself and prepare for the rest of the season. “He got a break last weekend,” Thomas said. “He played well this weekend at one under. He has been one of our best players for the past two years.”

Calvo will get a chance to help the Flames again this coming weekend when they travel to Raleigh, N.C., to participate in the Wolfpack Invitational hosted by N.C. State. Contact Will Luper at wluper@liberty.edu.
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