The Men’s Golf team took on the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic this week along with three of the top fifty teams in the nation. The competition also consisted of five players ranked among the top 100 individuals. Mercer’s own freshman Emmanuel Kountakis is ranked 97th. As a team, the Bears are ranked 26th.
The lineup for the classic included seniors Hans Reimers and James Beale, junior Trey Rule and freshmen Sean Smothers and Kountakis. This was the same lineup that most recently won the Brickyard Collegiate last week.
The first round of the tournament did not go exactly as planned for the Bears, and they found themselves in the running for seventh place on the leaderboard. They scored 282, six strokes under, and 292, four strokes over par, in the two rounds played.
Reimers finished the day in sixth place, and Rule finished next for the Bears in 38th. Smothers was tied for 46th, and Beale and Kountakis tied each other for 58th.
On day two, however, the Bears stepped up their game and finished out the competition at sixth place. Rule led the individual performances with a tie for fourth place. This was a career best finish for Rule and his third time in the top-ten.
Reimers managed to stay in the top-20 and score 18th place individually. Beale, Kountakis, and Smothers came in 43rd, 60th and 69th respectively.
In regards to the performance at the Autotader.com Collegiate Classics, Rule states, “The team’s expectations haven’t changed. Though we had a tough last tournament, we are still very confident and sure we are one of the best teams in the country. We just need to focus on the little things first and take one shot at a time and the results will come as a result.”
The Bears have been doing just that. “In practice we have been working on drills and different games to show how important each shot is in a round,” said Rule. “We are working a lot on our short games because we can always get better with chipping and putting and that’s where we are going to be seeing the most improvements.”
Golf is different from the normal concept of a team sport. There is an individual aspect to the game. “It is a different mentality because you are by yourself but I like to give my guys encouragement anytime I see them and I know they will do the same for me.” states Rule.
Even though individual honors are important, the Bears still play first as a team. “The team had the ultimate goal of being the first team in Mercer history to make it Regional’s as a team,” said Rule. “We all push each other to become the best we can be and keep each other accountable with practice, playing, workouts to keep each other in the best state to play well.”
The Bears will attend their final regular season competition on Nov 4th at the University of North Florida/Georgia Southern Intercollegiate at Deerwood Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.