May 12, 2011
What a difference a day makes. With the first round jitters out of the way, the team arrived at breakfast a little more jovial, laughing and ribbing each other and looking forward to the second round.
We arrived at Grandover to warm up at 7 a.m. before heading out to tackle the East course. The starter at the first tee, announced each player, their university and hometown with the flair of a professional tournament.
Gone were the nerves of yesterday replaced with anticipation of proving a point - the Corsairs deserved to be here. The guys all found the fairway off the first tee and we were off and running, hoping to climb a few notches up the leader board. When all was said and done, the team shot 314, not their best but still an improvement of 13 strokes from the day before. While we did not move up in the standings, our team score enabled us to close the gap of strokes between us and a number of teams.
Senior Scott Woodacre closed out his collegiate career in style, finishing with a two over par 74 and after a struggle on the front side, that included a quad on the 9th hole, and a quick pep talk on the 10th tee, George Gillmore played the back nine in one under par to finish at 81. This year's most improved player, Matt Connolly, carded a 79 and Brandon Oldham, who struck the ball well but struggled with the flat stick, finished at 82. Nick Jagoe's fairway approach on the 18th summed up his day. A beautiful wedge shot that hit the ridge in the middle and began to backspin towards the hole was stopped by another players ball, leaving him 20 feet for birdie instead of a more manageable 10 feet. A couple of bad bounces here and there kept Nick from a real good round yet he still finished with a respectable 80.
We grabbed a post round lunch at Grandover and during that time received an email from Jim Mullins, that I read to the team, putting things into perspective. His message in summary - we didn't finish 38th out of 40 in the tournament, we finished 38th in the country!
Coach Craig and I couldn't be more proud of this team. Golf is a gentleman's game and these guys are gentleman both on and off the course. They conducted themselves with class at all times and represented the University, the GNAC and "Corsair Nation" well.
We thank you for the support - family, friends and colleagues. Reaching the NCAA Championships was an experience none of us will ever forget and has only made us hungry for another opportunity on this grand stage. Success breeds success and with the team graduating only one senior, the future looks bright for UMass Dartmouth golf.