Brevard, N.C. - The Tornado men’s golf team enters the 2008-09 season with high expectations. After a very successful spring last season that produced five top-five finishes in their final five events, the upcoming season looks very bright.
“I was extremely proud of my team and how they finished last spring,” said Coach Nelson. “The obvious highlight being our fourth-place finish at the SAC tournament.” Although the Tornado men were not eligible for conference awards (individual or team), they served notice that they were capable of competing within the conference this upcoming year.
Returning to lead the Tornado charge will be seniors Myles Johnston and Craig Galloway, along with juniors Grant Carnie and Tommie Bush. Carnie in particular had an outstanding sophomore season. He finished the spring with the best stroke average on the team and placed in the top-five at two events. His top-five finish at the SAC tournament set the stage to what should be an outstanding junior campaign.
“Grant worked very hard on his game this summer with the target in mind to come back and play the No. 1 position for us this season,” commented Coach Nelson. “He won a major amateur event back home (North of Scotland Open Championship) finishing first ahead of over 350 participants from all over the world.”
Along with Carnie, Coach Nelson will look to returning senior Myles Johnston for strong play. Johnston is a two time team MVP and the most consistent player for the Tornados over the past three years.
“Myles is as steady as they come. I hope to see him back playing at another level as he finishes a stellar career at Brevard College,” said Coach Nelson.
Also hopeful of finishing his career strong is senior Craig Galloway. “Galloway is the hardest working player on my team. His leadership (team captain) and work ethic are second to none,” comments Coach Nelson. “He’s had a very productive summer working on his game, which I anticipate will produce great scores for us.”
Junior Thomas Bush and sophomore Joe Holliday are expected to contribute as well. Bush started slowly in the fall, but posted excellent scores in the spring. Holliday had a typical freshman season adjusting to collegiate golf, as well as schedule and academic demands.
The Tornado team will boast seven new faces this fall. Current BC senior Chris White and junior Mike Jones will play golf this year, having previously participated in the Tornado baseball program. White is a fifth year senior that completed a stellar career on the Tornado baseball team last spring. Throughout the summer White has always played competitive golf in amateur events. Jones will also make the transition to golf hopeful to make a strong contribution as well. Redshirt sophomore Jesse Merritt sat out last year as a transfer student. Merritt brings with him an excellent high school resume, but has never participated in golf at the collegiate level.
This year’s freshman class looks to be one of the best in recent years according to Coach Nelson. North Carolina natives Joshua Nelson (Mooresville, N.C.) and Joshua Davis (Old Fort, N.C.) come in with impressive high school credentials. Both have won conference championships and regional qualifications for state championships over the past two years. Davis qualified for the 4A state finals, while Nelson participated in the 3A state finals. Recently Davis won the McDowell County Amateur Championship this summer and seems poised to start a stellar collegiate career. Much like Davis, Nelson is perceived to be an immediate impact player for the Tornados. He holds the course record (63) at Mooresville County Club, his home course.
Also joining the incoming freshman class will be Bret McGaughey (Laguna Beach, CA) and Thomas Rennie (Scotland). Rennie follows a long line of Scottish golfers that have come through the program. His tournament experience at the junior level in Scotland will serve the program well. McGaughey is the first Tornado recruit from the west coast. Much like his freshman peers; McGaughey comes to Brevard with a very impressive high school resume as well. He won his league individual championship two years running, and participated in regional play.
“All four freshmen have the ability to play in the top-five this season,” said Coach Nelson. “ I would compare this recruiting class to my 2005 class that finished the year ranked as the #1 Freshman Class in the NAIA by GolfStat. These young men are outstanding golfers that will impact our program for years to come.”
The Tornados will open up the season in Etowah, N.C. on September 14-15 with the Montreat Fall Invitational which BC will be co-hosting with Montreat College. BC will then compete at the Webber Fall Invitational in Florida the following week and then the Clayton State Invitational on September 29-30 in Hampton, Ga. The Tornados will wrap up their 2008 fall season with the SMC Fall Invitational on October 6-7 and the LMU Fall Invitational on October 20-21.
In the 2009 spring season, the Tornados will compete in a number of tournaments filled with strong NCAA Division II competition.
The Tornados will play back-to-back-to-back weeks starting on March 2-3 at the Richard Rendleman Invitational in Salisbury, N.C., the Tusculum Men’s Invitational in Greeneville, Tenn. On March 9-10 and finishing with the Montreat Spring Invitational on March 16-17.
BC will then compete at the BMW Collegiate Invitational in Tigerville, S.C. on April 6-7 before hosting their annual Independent Collegiate Invitational tournament in Etowah, N.C. on April 13-14.
The Tornados will then host the 2009 South Atlantic Conference Tournament in Etowah, N.C. on April 20-21.