The Mercer men’s golf team’s opening season of the 2011-2012 campaign can be characterized with consistency and progress as the Bears played their way through three fall events including the annual home match at the Brickyard.
The Bears’ opening campaign was the first season with newly signed head coach Steve Bradley in charge. Bradley, who joined Mercer in the summer of 2011, came to the Bears after serving as the assistant coach at The University of Florida and coaching with one of the best head golf coaches in the nation, Buddy Alexander. Bradley took the helm of the Bears, with high expectations, and looking forward to seeing his team in action for the first time during the fall.
The Bears opened up their season in late September when the Mercer traveled to Arlington, TX to participate in the Waterchase Invitational. The three-round tournament ended up only being two rounds after the final round of the tournament was cancelled due to a swarm of bees. An estimated 75,000 bees invaded the course. The Bears finished the tournament tied for ninth place overall with a score of 603, beating out half of the competition at the invitational. The result, while respectable, was slightly disappointing for a Mercer team looking to start the season with a very strong performance. The team was led by redshirt sophomore, Hans Reimers, who finished the two-day even two under with a score of 142. Also playing in the tournament for the Bears were sophomores James Beale (150) and John Wilson Gordon (161), as well as juniors Alex Street (154) and Thomas Holmes (157).
The Bear’s second tournament of the fall campaign was on Oct. 7-9 as Mercer hosted the 2011 Brickyard Collegiate, competing against some of the best teams in the nation, including: North Florida, Florida State and eventual champion Georgia Tech. The Bears once again finished in the middle of the pack taking eighth place out of a field of 15 with a score of 890. However, the Bears showed their potential when they finished their second round with a score of 289, putting them in fourth place overall. Mercer’s historic round, the best ever by a Mercer team at the Brickyard, was only four strokes behind the 285 overall put up by Georgia Tech. Mercer was once again led by Hans Reimers who shot a 219 over three rounds. James Beale (222), Alex Street (227), and Thomas Holmes (235) all participated in their second tournament of the season, and senior Josh Cone made his first appearance of the season shooting a 225.
The Bears’ third and final tournament of the fall season occurred on Oct. 17-18 when the Mercer golfers traveled to South Carolina for The Invitational. Mercer once again finished the tournament ahead of 50 percent of their opponents, taking sixth place with a score of 891. The Bears were led by James Beale who shot a 219 overall and finishing tied for 13th place overall. Freshman Trey Rule competed in his first event of his Mercer career, shooting a 224 in the process. Also competing in the tournament for the Bears were Hans Reimers (226), Josh Cone (228), Thomas Holmes (232) and Alex Street (233). The Invitational was Mercer’s last event of the fall, and the Bears entered the break looking to prepare for the busy spring schedule and looking to improve their play.
When asked about the team’s performance during the fall, head coach Steve Bradley said, “We have a lot of work to do, but the players are willing to work hard and we are going to start doing workouts over the break.” Junior Alex Street echoed the thoughts of his head coach when he said, “The season went pretty well, but there is definitely room for improvement. We know what we need to improve on to compete with the best teams in the nation, and I think the fall season was a good indicator of where we are as a team. We are looking forward to the spring season.”
The Bears begin their spring play on Jan. 30. At the JU Invitational in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.