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Men's golf to open spring season Monday

Raiders are defending Mobile Bay champs

February 17, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MOBILE - After an unusually long break between the fall and spring schedule, Coach Whit Turnbow will send his team to a very familiar site, the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate in the south Alabama port city.

The tournament, one in which the Blue Raiders have enjoyed a great deal of success in the last half decade, will be held on Monday and Tuesday at the Magnolia Groves Crossing course.

"This is a great course, one we have played well over the years. We have won their twice, so it tends to be a golf course where we have enjoyed success," added Turnbow.

Turnbow noted that the field this year is as good as it always is, so his team will have to be ready to play. Among the 16-team field are powers Auburn, Illinois, LSU, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. Sun Belt teams from Arkansas State and Louisiana join host South Alabama, while future Conference USA foes Louisiana Tech, Memphis and Southern Miss are also in the field.

The format will be 36 holes on Monday and 18 on Tuesday, but a new twist has been added this year, one that Turnbow likes.

"It will allow us to take our entire team. There are two tournaments going on at the same time, on two separate courses," pointed out Turnbow. "We will send our top five golfers to compete in the team category, while everybody else will play in what amounts to an individual competition. It is good because it rewards the guys who don't get to play as much, and it's just fun to have all of the guys together and bonding as a team for three days."

Turnbow has become aware of another positive factor, and is anxious to see how it will play out at Mobile, as well as down the road.

"We've had reports that a lot of the guys have been going out on their own, over and above our scheduled qualifiers, and working on their own. We have been spending a lot of time in the weight room, too.

"The guys have committed to taking care of their business, going the extra mile on their own, and that is a good thing. It may not translate right away, but eventually, over a period of time, that is the stuff that will make you better."

All is not as well as it might be, however, as the team will play for the first time in several years without someone that has been the pillar of the team, a "bell cow' if you will.

Jason Millard and Hunter Green filled that slot for five years, and Brett Patterson became the "go-to" guy last year.

But Patterson struggled in the fall with elbow problems, had off-season surgery and will miss the entire spring. Turnbow is anxious to see who will step up.

He has designated Sam Thompson, Payne Denman, Lucas Armstrong, Andrew Cho and Jordon Jennings to represent MT in the team event, while Drake Duncan, Dane Voss and Paul Sansom will compete in the individual tournament.

Turnbow feels that getting the spring schedule off to a good start would be a big plus for the Blue Raiders.

"It is going to be a hectic spring for us. We are going to be playing every weekend from now until May with a couple of ins-and-outs. But we are ready to get started and go find somebody else to play against."

Blue Raider fans can follow the progress of the team on Golfstat.com.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.