Men's Golf Team Set to Get Spring Season Underway

February 15, 2004 · MT Media Relations

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The winter has not been too unkind so far, and due to this, Middle Tennessee men's golf coach Johnny Moore likes the way things are shaping up so far for the upcoming spring season.

"The guys are playing reasonably well," said Moore, who is in his 15th year as the coach of his alma mater. "We have only been able to play nine (holes) lately because of the weather. We have to get our legs under us and over the course of the next three weeks we should."

Moore believes that this year's squad is deeper than they have ever been, with seven players who can step in and play in any tournament. The Blue Raiders have only one senior on this year's squad but they have a plethora of juniors to make this an upperclassmen laden team.

In fact, Moore's five who will be traveling with the team features four upperclassmen and only one underclassmen, but that one underclassmen just happens to be at the No. 1 position to start the spring season. Sophomore Josh Nelms, a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., finished the fall season with the team's top scoring average of 72.1, which placed him sixth in the Sun Belt.

At the No. 2 spot is junior Blake Bivens (Etowah, Tenn.). Bivens, who had an average score of 73.3 in the fall, had his best finish as a Blue Raider in the fall, finishing tied for sixth at the Raising Cane Classic. He also shot a career-best round of 67 at the tournament.

Union University transfer Chris Webb (Jackson, Tenn.) will be at the No. 3 position. Webb, a junior had a 74.3 stroke average in the fall. The fourth and fifth spots are where Moore says the key to the Blue Raiders success lies.

"Our top two players can play with anyone, but are fourth and fifth guys are the key," said Moore.

Moore says that the only senior on the team, Charlie Gibson (Brentwood, Tenn.), who is at No. 4, needs to step up for the team to be competitive. Gibson, the team captain, was the top player on last year's team and is expected to bring leadership to the squad.

At the No. 5 position is Taylor Bowers (Nashville), a junior with very little experience. In fact, he did not even compete in any fall tournaments, but in the spring of 2003 he finished tied for 18th at the Silver Shores Invitational.

Middle Tennessee starts their spring 2004 campaign with a three-week tour of Florida, beginning this weekend as they travel to Orlando for the two-round Rio Pinar Invitational. Coach Moore thinks that the team's hard work will pay off in the coming weeks, albeit maybe not this weekend.

"I think that we are a middle of the field team right now," said Moore. "I would be pleased to be in the upper half of the field."

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